A few months ago we wanted to test drive our newest cooking tool – a cast iron skillet. Neil had been telling me for a long time how much we needed one and I didn’t really see the point, until this recipe came along. It was the first dish Neil created using the cast iron skillet, and it’s become something of a staple now in our house. It’s quick and easy, but looks impressive. It’s a great dish to make for a dinner party when you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen all night but still want to ‘wow’ your friends.
Neil dreamed up this dish on a teeny tiny scrap of paper, as he tends to do when he gets inspired. I love that it came from true inspiration without even looking at a recipe for ideas. The meat itself comes out really flavorful and the sauce just elevates it to another level. The flavors are perfect together. The caramelized shallots balance the sweetness of the grapes making the sauce more rich and savory than just simply sweet.
Grapes and steak – who woulda thunk it?
Seared sirloin w/grapes, caramelized shallots and port:
Season your raw sirloin steak with pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper flakes. Don’t salt the meat until just before cooking, to avoid drawing moisture out. (Actually, there are two schools of thought on when to salt meat, but this is the technique we follow).
Rub the cast-iron skillet with oil. Heat the skillet over high heat for several minutes. When the skillet is very hot, sear each side, a few minutes per side depending on thickness. Turn the steak to sear edges.
We cooked ours to medium rare, more on the rare side. Cook an extra minute or two per side if you prefer medium. Once cooking is finished, remove meat from pan and let it rest for several minutes under a ” tent” of foil, to let juices redistribute inside meat.
Chop 1 large shallot (or a couple of smaller ones)
Cut a bunch of red grapes in half, lengthwise
Grab a bottle of your favorite port and keep it close by… (sneak a sip if desired)
After cooking the steak, add the shallots into the same skillet and cook over medium heat several minutes until translucent. Add the grapes, and cook for a few minutes until they soften and release juices.
Add some ground pepper and sea salt.
Pour in a cup or so of port, cook over medium-high heat for several minutes until port reduces and grapes and shallots get ‘jammy’.
To serve, slice the sirloin and plate with a generous amount of the sauce…