The Sprouts

Ok, here’s my best side dish, best made with The Steak.

  1. Get a bunch of brussels sprouts. Fresh if you can of course. Rinse ’em.
  2. Cut off all the stems; they make them a bit too bitter.
  3. Cut them all in half.
  4. In a sauté pan, or a frying pan, but not a non-stick pan, warm up some butter over a medium heat.
  5. No, more butter than that. That’s better.
  6. Drop your sprouts into the butter and let em sizzle a while. You should move them around a bit somewhat frequently. You want to brown them on all sides and let them start to blacken a little, but not a lot.
  7. Add salt and pepper. Probably a little more than you think you want.
  8. Just as they start to get to a point where you can’t keep them from sticking to the pan no matter how franticly you try, take the pan over to the sink and put in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan (this is not a lot of water, but it has to cover the entire bottom of the pan).
  9. Return to the heat and boil the water off, uncovered. Just as the water starts to clear out, add butter.
  10. What did I just say? I said add butter. Add butter like this is your last meal on earth.
  11. Let the butter melt entirely and toss all the sprouts until they are evenly covered.
  12. Finally, let them warm up again until they start to sizzle. Cook until they brown / char just a tad more over a high heat (you want just a hint of crispiness).

The main objective here is a slightly crispy outside with a soft, buttery inside. The water you add in the middle of the process steams the sprout and loosens it up. The butter and high heat at the end puts on a finishing crisp.


  1. Garlic, of course. I put this in early with the butter at the beginning and give it a slight head start, but it adds an advanced challenge because you don’t want to burn the garlic while you’re browning the sprouts in the first pass (before the water) or again at the end. It means you’re constantly working the contents of the pan to avoid it.
  2. A sweet dried fruit. I’ve done currants and I’ve tried dried cherries, both are great.
  3. Lemon juice, right at the end. Not a lot though. I’ve had mixed results here; if the sprouts aren’t really perfectly ripe, they’re already a little bitter, and the lemon doesn’t work.
  4. I have been meaning to try some fried prosciutto but haven’t gotten around to it (based on Darwin’s fantastic Kale salad recipe, which also makes a great side dish to The Steak).

The Steak

Here’s one of my specialties that I’ve perfected over the last few years.

  1. Buy some of this
  2. Go to your local butcher and order a large chateaubriand cut. This is basically the end of the top sirloin cut. You want somewhere around 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. We’re talking about an inch thick or more.
  3. Bring it home, cover it in the rub, let it sit for a while; half an hour will do, but an hour is better. I let it sit on the counter at room temp.
  4. Get a cast iron pan out (you can do it in a regular sauté pan, too) and get it hot on high heat. Drop a bit of olive oil on it to cover the bottom of the pan and put your steak on it. Let it ride until it starts to brown on the bottom.
  5. Flip the steak over and put it under a broiler and let it cook. If it starts to really brown, or rather go past browning, and it’s not yet done enough, you can move it to the oven to finish it off, but it’s usually not necessary.
  6. Like all steaks, you want to stop early as it keeps cooking. I like mine rare, so I stop when it looks cooked but is still a little bloody, and by the time I have it on the table it’s pink but not actually bloody.
  7. Buy some really good cow’s milk blue cheese. Ideally it’s not crumbly, but it should be actually blue (so, not like a brie; you can use something like cambozola if you can’t find anything fancier). The simple version is to just cut it into thin slices (here is my favorite cheese knife in the world, made of plastic, yet works so well it’s hard to believe) and put it over the steak right before you remove it from the oven. It should melt into a thin-ish layer over the steak. You don’t have to cover the entire steak, but it should be across enough of it that you’re likely to get a little in almost every bite.
  8. Slice into long strips (be sure to cut across the grains) and serve.

Optional, but only just:

  1. Get a good bottle of red wine and poor a small amount into the sauté pan (enough to cover the bottom) and reduce it. The steak will have left some fat, likely a bit charred but that’s fine, and, more importantly, a fair amount of the rub you put on it along with some of its own juices. The reduction from that rub with a solid red wine is fantastic.