Pan-seared ribeye steaks with gremolata and parmesan polenta

Polenta: the cornmeal show-stealer

Two words:  cornmeal mush.  But please, dear reader, don’t let the ostensible lack of descriptive gentility fool you.  As Craig Claiborne writes in his New York Times Food Encyclopedia, “There are three foods of consummate goodness that may be served as either as main course or a side dish in the Italian kitchen.”  Claiborne lists rice (in the form of risotto) and, of course, pasta before giving a venerable nod to polenta, which, as the author suggests, “is infinite in its variations, is relatively and regrettably little known and appreciated in this country.”

To alleviate a bit of burden for the well-intentioned initiate, I recommend and instant variety of polenta, available along with the dry pasta or rice aisle at your local market.

Employing the cornmeal concoction as a side dish for this polenta permutation, I’ve paired it with a pan-seared ribeye and—supplying a callback to Italian cuisine—garnished with gremolata, an aromatic condiment composed of fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon zest.  Uncork a bottle of pinot noir (for sipping and for deglazing your pan for a loose, red wine reduction) and you’re set.

Is it mush?  Sure—I’ll respond with a shrug.  But it’s a noble sort of mush, my friend.

Pan-seared ribeye steaks with gremolata and parmesan polenta

Serves 2 – 3

  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 – 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 14 – 16 fluid ounces low-sodium chicken stock
  • ½ cup instant polenta
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (plus additional for broiling)
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2, 1-pound ribeye steaks
  • As needed, kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • As needed, olive oil
  • ½ cup pinot noir

1.  Prepare gremolata, place in a lidded container and reserve in refrigerator.

2.  In a medium-size saucepan, heat stock to low simmer; add in polenta and cook until softened.  Add parmesan and stir in butter; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

3.  Season exterior of ribeye steaks with kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  In a sauté pan over high heat, add a small amount of olive oil and pan-sear steaks to desired doneness.  Remove steaks, place on a plate, and cover with foil; allow to rest for at least ten minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and, using a wooden spoon, deglaze pan with red wine; allow to reduce by half before adding rendering steak juices from holding plate.

4.  Optional:  place polenta in small crocks, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and toast the top under a broiler.  Serve ribeyes with pan reduction and garnish with gremolata.



Published in: on November 17, 2012 at 6:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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