Here's one way to light up a weeknight meal -- and possibly smoke up your kitchen: A small amount of flambeed bourbon lends a certain and definite something to the pan sauce for this stove-top steak.
The fiery technique burns off just enough of the liquor's edge while leaving behind complex flavor. Use a long-handled instant lighter, or strike a match and secure it at the business end of metal tongs. The whole process is done off the heat; the low flame will die out in about 20 seconds.
Serve with quinoa and sauteed broccoli rabe, broccolini or just crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- One 1-inch-thick boneless rib-eye (8 to 10 ounces)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton; may substitute hot Hungarian paprika)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- Pinch sugar
Line a small plate with paper towels.
Heat the oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, until the garlic becomes golden brown but does not burn. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to the lined plate. Leave the skillet over medium-high heat while you season the steak on both sides with the smoked paprika and with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the steak in the skillet and sear until nicely browned on both sides; this should take a total of 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate to rest while you make the sauce. Leave the skillet over medium-high heat.
Carefully add the water and soy sauce to the skillet, using a wooden spatula to dislodge any crusty bits from the pan. Cook for about 1 minute; the liquid should reduce by half. Turn off the heat.
Stir in the bourbon and sugar; use a long lighter or match to ignite the sauce, then allow the flame to subside and burn out; this should take less than half a minute.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board; cut into thick slices and divide between individual plates. Spoon the sauce over each portion, then sprinkle with the garlic. Serve warm.
Adapted from "The Adobo Road Cookbook: A Filipino Food Journey -- From Food Blog, to Food Truck, and Beyond," by Marvin Gapultos (Tuttle, 2013).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.