Black-eyed Pea Salsa with chili powder teams up beautifully with Curried Steaks. Recipe below.
A couple of quick notes. First, for those of you who don’t eat red meat, this black-eyed pea salsa also livens up grilled fish or chicken breasts. Also, I’m doing two posts today, so be sure to scroll down for the second one.
The other day I realized that, as much as I love red meat, you wouldn’t know it to look at this blog. In fact, in the seven months Blue Kitchen has been open, I’ve talked about it exactly once, unless you count the two chili recipes that use ground beef. That is just plain wrong.
Growing up, ground was about the only kind of beef I knew, aside from the occasional stringy pot roast—burgers, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, more meatloaf… I wasn’t introduced to the wonders of steak until I was in college, and then it was at one of those cafeteria-style joints called BEST STEAK HOUSE [or something equally overpromising] where you watch hairy-armed men tossing steaks on permanently charred grills with flames shooting up all around as the fat sizzled off. A steak dinner with baked potato and iceberg lettuce salad set you back maybe four or five bucks, and it was love at first gristly bite.
I have since graduated to better cuts of meat—and from medium-well to medium to medium-rare to rare. But the pure primal satisfaction that is steak remains undeniable.
Although one of my favorite ways to prepare steak is what I call my French bistro steak, seared in butter and the pan deglazed with red wine, I’m starting with this recipe because when I came across it in my files recently, I immediately wanted the black-eyed pea salsa.
Black-eyed peas are another food item very popular in the south [like last week's okra]. Even though this salsa is named for them, there are lots of flavors at play here. When you first start cooking the green pepper and chili powder, the aroma will be less than encouraging. Don’t worry, though—when the other ingredients are added, it all comes together fabulously. And when it gets together with the steaks with their peppery curry marinade, the results are amazing.
Curried Steaks with Black-eyed Pea Salsa
2 tablespoons canola oil [see Kitchen Notes]
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup water
15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 cups firm, ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced [about 3 medium]
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced [white and green parts]
1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 tablespoon curry powder
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 strip steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each
Prepare the salsa. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, chili powder and green pepper. Sauté for 1 minute, lower heat to medium and stir in water and black-eyed peas. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in diced tomatoes, mixing well. Transfer to bowl and sprinkle green onions over top. Set aside to cool.
Prepare steaks. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, pepper, curry powder and lime juice. Brush steaks on both sides with marinade and allow them to rest for 15 minutes, turning once.
Salt steaks on both sides and grill or broil [I used a grilling pan on the stovetop] for about 3 minutes on one side. Turn and grill for an additional 2 minutes on the second side for medium rare. Transfer to plates and spoon black-eyed pea salsa over them.
Oil. When sautéing something over medium-high or high heat, I go for an oil with a high smoke point and neutral flavor, usually canola or grapeseed oil. You can also use vegetable oil, but it doesn’t share their healthy properties.
On the topic of oils, everyone goes crazy for extra virgin olive oil. Great for salad dressings and for dipping bread in, not so great for cooking. First, it has a lower smoke point than regular olive oil—which is already plenty low for anything other than a low to medium flame. And second, it has a more assertive taste. So for cooking, I go for a decent quality olive oil that’s a little less virginal.
Also this week in Blue Kitchen
What’s your sign? The charm of homemade advertising—come and get it at WTF? Random food for thought.
Find the definitive answer to the question “Can a white boy play the blues?” at What’s on the kitchen boombox?