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The Splurge Urge

March 12, 1997|MAYI BRADY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sometimes we feel the need to satisfy the carnivore that lurks within us. What better way than with a good old-fashioned dinner of steak and potatoes?

The key to the success of this menu rests with the quality of the ingredients because each recipe calls for only a few. Most of us don't eat steak very often, so when we do, splurging on a good piece of meat--preferably from a butcher or grocery store known for quality meat--is in order.

It's best to buy vine-ripened tomatoes at this time of year. Another option: Hold off on the tomatoes until summer and make a green salad instead.

If you've got room after dinner for dessert, throw whatever caution is left to the winds and have a scoop the richest chocolate ice cream you can find in the freezer case and maybe a cookie or two. And don't forget a cup of coffee (not decaf).

Menu (UNDER 30 MINUTES

Pan-Fried Rib-eye Steaks With Mushrooms and Shallots

Parsleyed New Potatoes

Tomatoes With Oregano and Balsamic Vinegar

INGREDIENTS

SHOPPING LIST

2 (1/2-pound) rib-eye steaks

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms

3/4 pound small red new potatoes

1 bunch parsley

2 large tomatoes

1 bunch oregano

STAPLES

Butter

Shallots

Dry white wine

Balsamic vinegar

Salt

Pepper

COUNTDOWN

30 minutes before: Start pot of water to simmer for potatoes. Prepare tomatoes with oregano and set aside.

25 minutes before: Start steaming potatoes. Mince parsley.

15 minutes before: Start cooking steaks. Mince shallots and slice mushrooms.

5 minutes before: Cook shallots and mushrooms.

Last minute: Toss potatoes with butter and parsley. Top steaks with cooked mushrooms.

PAN-FRIED RIB-EYE STEAKS WITH MUSHROOMS AND SHALLOTS

2 (1/2-pound) rib-eye steaks

Salt, pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/3 cup dry white wine

Season steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks and cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add remaining tablespoon butter to pan, add shallots and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook over high heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook 2 more minutes until slightly reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at once over steaks.

2 servings. Each serving:

332 calories; 342 mg sodium; 104 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 31 grams protein; 1.21 grams fiber.

PARSLEYED NEW POTATOES

3/4 pound small red boiling potatoes

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 tablespoons minced parsley

Salt, pepper

Steam potatoes over simmering water until tender, about 20 minutes. Cut potatoes in half and toss with butter, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

2 servings. Each serving:

186 calories; 217 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.76 gram fiber.

TOMATOES WITH OREGANO AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR

2 large tomatoes

2 teaspoons minced oregano

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt, pepper

Cut tomatoes into half-inch slices. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Season to taste salt and pepper to taste.

2 servings. Each serving:

25 calories; 153 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.40 gram. fiber.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SHORTCUTS

Steaming makes short work of potatoes, especially if you use those little red boiling potatoes frequently called "new potatoes." With their tender skins, these potatoes don't need to be peeled before they are cooked and it only takes 20 minutes to steam them.

* Cyclamen plate from Gelson's Coffee Bar in Tarzana.

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