Shaking Beef

 

Meat is precious and Buddhist traditions are strong in Vietnam, which is why dishes of beef are considered a luxury. Clever cooks cut tender, marbled cuts into small pieces so they soak up flavor, then cook them quickly and serve them hot with aromatic herbs. Here, the peppery, salty-sweet, juicy beef mingles with the light salad dressing to create a great sauce that pools on the platter, perfect for drizzling over rice. Watercress leaves warm and wilt under the Shaking Beef (so named for the back-and-forth shaking of the pan), while their stems remain crunchy.

Adapted from
Food & Wine Magazine
April 2012

Serves 4

Ingredients
For the Beer:
1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 pounds boneless rib eye steak, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces

For the Salad:
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon medium-dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups lightly packed watercress, baby arugula, or other salad greens
1 cup torn radicchio or 8 halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh mint,  Thai basil, or other herb leaves, torn
2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:
To Make the beef:Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, fish sauce, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. If a saltier finish is desired, add up to 1 1/2 teaspoons more oyster sauce. Add beef, toss well to coat, and let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.

To Make the salad: Rinse onions in a strainer under cold running water for about 10 seconds; set aside. Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, vinegar, sherry, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion; top with watercress, radicchio, and herbs. Do not toss.

Heat a large, cast iron skillet over high, and add oil. When oil is shimmering, carefully add beef in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan every 30 to 60 seconds, until seared on all sides and meat reaches desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from heat. Quickly toss salad, and transfer to a platter or serving dish. Pile cooked beef and juices on salad, and serve immediately.

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Roasted Parsnip Fries

Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. They have a decadently sweet, earthy flavor made richer by winter frosts. Here, the root is paired with tangy lemon juice and some fresh, mild herbs, and roasted to a crisp. Feel free to adjust these additions based on your preferences. You really can't go wrong! Photo by Greg Dupree from  Cooking Light

Photo Credit:  Greg Dupree,  Cooking Lightm 2018.

If you are looking for something different to go along with a classic cheeseburger or a new chip for your fish and chips, then a side order of roasted parsnips may be just the ticket for you. Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots and parsley. They have a decadently sweet, earthy flavor made richer by winter frosts.This dish is so easy to make and would also be just as delicious with roasted chicken or a grilled steak, given their natural sweetness that caramelizes in the oven for a delicious flavor.

Servings 6

Ingredients:
3 pounds parsnips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 ° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the parsnips, then cut into evenly sized matchsticks.

Place the parsnips in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Evenly distribute the parsnips on a baking sheet in a single layer, making sure they have a little room on the sides to brown and caramelize. Place in the oven.

Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the parsnips are starting to turn golden brown on the edges. Toss the parsnips to redistribute, then roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tender and golden.

Toss with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

 

Cook’s Notes:
Note on cooking times: The exact time varies depending on how big the matchsticks are, so make sure to check on them once in a while to see if they’ve become caramelized and fork tender. That’s when you know they’re done.

In this recipe,  the root is paired with tangy lemon juice and some fresh, mild herbs, and roasted to a crisp. Feel free to substitute the herbs with chives, dill, rosemary or even grated Parmesan cheese based on your preferences. You really can’t go wrong!


Catfish and Crab Creole Gumbo

catfish crab gumbo

Some version of gumbo is always on the menu at any given restaurant in New Orleans. This classic seafood version, which is chock-full chicken, Jonah crab claws and vegetables swimming in a broth richly flavored, is always a hit with a crowd. You can also make it the centerpiece of a Mardi Gras meal.

Yields: 3 quarts, 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
3/4 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3 to 5 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 cups fish stock
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
6 chicken drumsticks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon file pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound catfish, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons dry Creole seasoning*
1 dozen Jonah crab legs
1/2 pound lump crab meat, picked over
1 10-ounce package of frozen okra
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped tender green onion tops
White Rice, for serving

Directions:
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil allowing it to heat for about 5 minutes until it begins to shimmer, then add the flour to the skillet. With a wooden spoon, stir the oil and flour together to form a roux. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to stir the roux for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the color of dark chocolate. Add the onions, bell peppers, and celery to the roux and stir to blend. Stir the vegetables for 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 30 seconds before adding the the stock to the pot.

Heat an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, add the roux to the pot and season with with the thyme, bay leaves, salt,pepper, and file powder. Add the chicken stock. Add the chicken. Bring the gumbo to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer the gumbo for 1 hour, skimming the foam and any oil that rises to the surface.

Season the catfish with creole seasoning. Stir in the crab legs and the catfish into the gumbo and cook for 10 minutes. Add the okra to the pot and cook, stirring often, for an additional 5 minutes. Taste the gumbo and season with salt and black pepper, if necessary. Remove the bay leaves and chicken bones and discard.

To serve, garnish with the parsley and green onions and serve in shallow bowls over white rice.

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