Made Man - February 7, 2012
Bruce Bozzi Jr's Perfect New York Strip
Whether it’s your boss, friends or a new lady you’re seeking to wow, few things impress like a home-cooked meal. For all those scenarios and more, let me suggest a proven winner: steak. It’s a true American classic, but only when prepared properly. Which is why Made Man has brought me on board for a series covering all you need to know about four different types: New York strip, filet mignon, ribeye and hangar.
What do I know about steak? Well, I’m a fourth-generation family representative and executive vice president of The Palm, a fine dining establishment with locations throughout the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom. On way my to executive VP I’ve held every management position imaginable. Yes, gents, I’ve cooked a steak or two in my day. Now I’m imparting what I’ve learned to you. You can thank me later, but let us begin with a seven-tip primer on New York strip.
1. Know Your Cut
There’s a reason we are starting this series with this steak. It’s my personal favorite. Why? Because it comes from the loin, the meat strikes a perfect balance between fatty muscle and lean meat. That means a cut that is tender, easy to chew and packed with flavor. When I’m having friends over for dinner, my mouth waters as I prepare this simple delicacy for them.
2. Control Quality
Before you go out and get your New York strip, we need to cover beef-buying basics. Because you’re a man of taste, you should really only buy steak in the top two grades: prime and choice. The USDA classifies just two percent of all beef as “prime,” the highest grade. You can only get it at restaurants, fine butcher shops or specialty beef suppliers. Prime boasts the best marbling and is very tender and juicy with a rich cherry red color. Since it’s the best of the best, get ready to part with not-inconsiderable funds, as much as 15 dollars per pound. After prime comes choice. It’s the second-best type of beef, available just about anywhere. It costs less but you’re still going to get a quality meal out of it.
3. Keep Prep Simple
The two best ways to do New York strip are broiling and grilling. The cooking method is almost the same, except one is done in your kitchen and the other is done in your backyard. To prepare the steak, coat it in your favorite olive oil. Rub the steak with your handsand really massage it in. Then sprinkle sea salt and cracked black pepper on both sides.Done. Now you might be saying “Really, Bruce? That’s it?” Truth is, with a really good cut, you don’t need to season too much. You want the seasoning to bring out the natural flavor of the beef, no more.
4. Feel the Heat
When it comes to cooking, the grill or the broiler should be really hot, 425 degrees, and you should be refraining from what I’ll call micromanaging: constantly flipping the steak. This releases juices, sapping the meat of moisture and flavor. Flip the steak just once, after the down-facing side is completely done, and by all means, gentlemen,don’t press down on it with your flipper, another flavor-stealing gaffe. I also strongly recommend cooking with a meat thermometer. When your steak is done has a lot to do with your individual tastes, but cooking to 120 to 130 degrees will give you a beautiful medium rare steak. Let it breathe a bit after removing from heat, and it just might be as tender and tasty as something you’ll find at The Palm. As opposed to, say, a well-done steakwith all the flavor of your leather jacket. Which sounds better to you?
5. Choose Sides
Start your evening with a light Caesar salad for a starter. A simple baked potato makes an excellent side for this steak, along with some sautéed spinach for greens. Add to this a good pinot noir—I personally love the Chandon, Carneros Pinot Noir 2008, which you can get for under $35—and you’re in business.
6. Time It Right
Remember that when you prepare dinner for a group, a lot of the success has to do with timing. Your baked potatoes will take about 45 minutes to cook, so plan accordingly. The spinach will only take a few minutes to cook. Heat some olive oil on medium high and drop in garlic slices, cooking until browned. Cook the spinach until it’s nice and soft. Let the spinach sit in the pan a bit while cooling, allowing the leaves to absorb extra flavor.
7. Finish Sweet
A simple yet elegant dinner warrants a simple yet elegant dessert. Chocolate-covered strawberries are a great finish to a meal like this one. Get your favorite chocolate—dark or milk—melt it and drizzle it over some fresh organic strawberries. If you lay out this course the end of a date, you might very well be naked and/or engaged at this point…
Click here to view Bruce's column on the Made Man website.