Cooking with herbs can greatly enhance the flavor of food, while at the same time reducing the need for salt.
I’m big fan of that concept. And hardly a meal goes by at our house in which herbs aren’t used in one way or another.
Tonight, we’re having what I term a warm-weather supper. It’s going to consist of sandwiches, made with smoked chicken I cooked last night and freshly baked bread from Dakota Harvest Bakers; a salad dominated by recently picked lettuce from our garden; and homemade tomato salsa featuring cilantro — a very pungent herb — that’s the best we ever grown.
Herbs are quite versatile, as the following recipe shows. A sirloin steak that has been rubbed with a mixture of dried porcini mushrooms, balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce is cooked on the grill and later topped with herb butter. The sirloin then is complemented with grilled mini peppers.
Sirloin with Herb Butter and Charred Peppers
2¼ pounds sirloin, at least 1 ½ inches thick, cut into 6 portions, or 1 bone-in, double-cut rib eye steak (about 2 ½ inches thick, about 2 ½ pounds), trimmed of excess fat
1 ½-ounce package dried porcini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces assorted red, yellow and orange baby bell peppers
Juice of 1 lemon
Set the sirloin pieces on a plate.
(If using a bone-in rib eye, place the steak flat on a board; tie kitchen twine tightly around the sides (including the bone) to help the steak keep its shape during cooking.)
Grind the mushrooms in a spice grinder or blender; transfer to a bowl and mix with the garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 ½ tablespoons rosemary, red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons salt. Cut several slits all over the steak; fill each slit with some of the mushroom mixture, then rub the rest all over the meat. Transfer the steak to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before grilling.
Meanwhile, combine the butter, green onions, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and ½ tablespoon rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat a grill to medium-high, then prepare for indirect heat: For gas, turn off the burners on one side. For charcoal, push the coals to one side. Brush the steak with the olive oil, then place on the cooler side of the grill (indirect heat). Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 110 to 120 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness. Move the steak to the hotter side of the grill (direct heat) and cook until the thermometer registers 125 degrees, about 2 to 3 more minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes, spreading with some of the herb butter.
Meanwhile, grill the peppers over direct heat, turning, brushing with the lemon juice and seasoning with salt, until charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Top the steak with more herb butter and serve with peppers.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 469 calories, 61 percent of calories from fat, 31 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 10 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 1,324 milligrams sodium, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber.