When the call is for quick meals, steaks are a can't-miss answer. Almost all cuts, whether a butt steak, rib-eye, sirloin or T-bone, cook quickly and take to a variety of cooking methods.
Pan-frying, often put aside in favor of grilling or broiling, is an excellent strategy for thin steaks. When the steaks are placed into a red-hot skillet, the exterior quickly sears, sealing in the juices. After this initial searing, the heat is reduced to complete the cooking in short order.
Although the steaks can be served plain, it only takes a few more minutes to make a simple sauce, using the pan juices as the base. The menu is completed with additions that are all-American companions to steak -- onions, mushrooms and blue cheese.
Pan-fried Steak With Mustard Cream Sauce Makes 2 servings
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 steaks, about 6 ounces each, cut about 1/2 -inch thick
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt to taste
Heat oil on a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Press pepper into both sides of the steaks. Add steaks to the skillet and cook, turning once, until cooked as desired, 2 to 3 minutes for medium-rare. Set aside.
Add the shallot to the pan and cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Add cream, mustard and salt, stir well and cook 1 minute. Pour over meat.
Per serving: 460 calories, 34 g fat, 130 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates, 35 g protein.
Glazed Onions Makes 2 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/2 -inch wedges
1 tablespoon steak sauce
salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until onion begins to color, 4 to 5 more minutes. Stir in the steak sauce, salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Per serving: 95 calories, 7 g fat, no cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein.
Blue Cheese Mushrooms Makes 2 servings
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2 large lettuce leaves
Put oil, vinegar and cheese into a small bowl. Mix with a spoon, using the back of the spoon to smooth the cheese. Add the green onions, parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.
Toss the mushrooms into the cheese mixture and mix lightly. Spoon the mushrooms onto the lettuce leaves and serve at once.
Per serving: 145 calories, 13 g fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrates, 4 g protein.