“The times, they are a-changin”, Bob Dylan’s epic album of that name came out in January 1964 which (if my notoriously bad math is correct) means that just shy of 50 years ago, things were moving along at the same pace as the world seems to be at this very moment. My crazy old world is changing by leaps and bounds everywhere I look, and I bet yours may be doing the same thing.
Earlier this year, for example, the names of cuts of beef and pork, 350 of them in fact, were officially changed for the first time in 40 years, leaving me, for one, completely intrigued and confused.
Even here in RVA, I have the distinct feeling that something’s in the air; that change is afoot; that things are starting to get a lot more interesting very quickly. Within the last 24 hours, three notable authors have blown into town for three separate appearances: Anne Lamott, Erik Larson and tonight, Orhan Pamuk. My literary leaning soul is in ecstasy with the dawning realization of just what a bookish city I am lucky enough to inhabit.
What do these seemingly disparate things have in common? Well, in short, it means that I have a new compulsion to find speedy things to get on the dinner table. And not just any old thing, at that. I’m looking for quick things that have a certain elegance, can be made likedy-split when I get home from a stirring literary talk, and that lend themselves to a long drawn out dinner conversation, debating the relative merits of this Nobel prize laureate verses that reknowned author. In short, just the sort of meaty conversation I adore.
Where as usually, I’m only too happy to hang around making dinner on a Friday night, taking my sweet time whilst listening to jazz, talking to the cats, and nurturing my secret crush on David Brooks on the News Hour, now I want to be out and about, stirring myself up with listening to my fabulous literary heroes.
So, while half the time I have no earthly idea what I’m buying in the grocery store, I’ve taken to randomly buying weird things with weird names and giving them a whirl, which is where this quick dinner came in. When I first tried it I was thrilled with the speed with which it came together, and the sophisticated, elegant meal that I accidently produced. Jeff in fact, dubbed it a huge success, even worthy of a dinner party.
So tonight, I’m planning on standing up my old beau David Brooks for my potential new one–Orhan. When I get home, I do believe I’ll throw on some jazz and cook up a little flat iron steak. Yes indeed, a typical Friday night around the old homestead. But my, how the times they are a-changin.
Flat Iron Steak with Beurre Compose’
1 pound flat iron steak
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large shallot, peeled and minced
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
1/4 cup fresh chives, minced
Generously salt and pepper the flat iron steak and allow it to come to room temperature. In the meantime, combine the butter, shallot, parsley and chives and mix well. Cover and set aside.
Heat a cast iron pan to high and add the olive oil. Cook the steak for about 4 minutes a side until nicely seared on the outside but medium rare.
Remove the steak from the pan, cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices and serve with a dollop of the composed butter on top.