Old-Fashioned Steak and Potatoes

Do you remember when pan-frying or roasting was the only way people cooked meat? I could probably count on one hand the number of times we grilled meat in my childhood.

But grilling has become a favorite pastime — even during the winter — of many Americans, so rarely do I come across a recipe for preparing meat any other way. But when I do, it’s usually worth a second look.

This past week, I took a peak at an recipe for pan-fried steak with an earthy mushroom-pesto sauce. An accompanying recipe for hot pepper potatoes made the meal even more interesting. The nice thing about the two recipes — a good old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes meal — is that they can be made in the same pan and on the table is less than an hour. Along with a salad, it’s a complete meal.

Mushroom Pesto Steak
Olive oil spray
¾ pound beef tenderloin
¼ pound sliced Portobello mushrooms (about 1 2/3 cups)
2 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Several sprigs watercress (optional)
Cut tenderloin into 2-inch slices. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil. Saute mushrooms 1 minute, turn and saute 1 minute more. Transfer to a food processor, add pesto and ¼ cup water, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Add the steak to the same skillet. Sear over high heat for 2 minutes; turn and sear 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), 6 to 7 minutes for medium (160 degrees.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide steak between dinner plates, spoon sauce on top and garnish with watercress.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 346 calories, 46 percent of calories from fat, 17.8 grams fat (5.6 grams saturated, 9.3 grams monounsaturated), 119 milligrams cholesterol, 41.2 grams protein, 4.2 grams carbohydrates, 1.1 grams fiber, 239 milligrams sodium.

Hot Pepper Potatoes
1 pound yellow potatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
Several drops hot pepper sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Wash potatoes (don’t peel) and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 5 minutes. Test with a fork; if not soft, microwave 2 more minutes. (Or boil potatoes in water to cover for about 10 minutes.)
Add olive oil and hot pepper sauce to skillet in which steak was cooked. Raise the heat to high. Add the potatoes and toss until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the steak.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 199 calories, 22 percent of calories from fat, 4.8 grams fat (0.7 grams saturated, 3.3 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.3 grams protein, 36.1 grams carbohydrates, 3.9 grams fiber, 21 milligrams sodium.