- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The beef at my supermarket meat counter was called “sweetheart steak,” and it was featured for Valentine’s Day. By squinting and using my imagination, I could see the vague resemblance to a heart, but it wasn’t until I investigated further that I learned the meat was a rib-eye steak that was butterfly cut.

It may be well past that romantic holiday, but a “sweetheart” butterflied rib-eye steak is still a marvelous entree for two. This steak, cut from the rib, is one of the most flavorful pieces of beef you can serve. Rib-eye steak is also well-marbled, tender and easy to prepare.

When shopping, ask for a steak that’s at least 1 inches thick. A thinner steak will cook to cardboard once it’s butterflied. Most butchers will cut the beef for you. Or you can do it in a minute yourself.

Place the steak on a clean cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make a slash halfway through the thickness of the steak. Cut in even strokes, keeping your knife parallel to the cutting board.

Peel back the top of the steak as you cut to make sure your knife isn’t slicing upward or downward. Stop half an inch before you separate the beef into two thin steaks.

That’s the hardest part of preparing a butterflied rib-eye steak. Now all you have to do is choose from the many options for a delicious meal.

For a simple grilled or broiled steak, brush the meat with a flavorful marinade or cover with a seasoning rub and set aside for 30 minutes. Then broil or grill the meat to rare. You can also pan-broil butterflied rib-eye steak.

If you’re willing to take a few extra steps, you can turn this piece of meat into an impressive entree. Stuff the steak with a filling of bread cubes and blue cheese, then skewer shut and roast. The cheese melts into a glorious sauce, the bread becomes crunchy, and the meat stays rare and juicy. It’s a sweetheart deal of a recipe.

Arugula-basil salad

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup baby arugula leaves

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon prepared Dijon-style mustard

For salad, place tomatoes, arugula and basil in a salad bowl. For dressing, place vinegar, salt, pepper, oil and mustard in a cup, and stir well to blend. Pour dressing over salad just before serving. Toss well. Makes 2 servings.

Stuffed rib-eye steak

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 shallot, minced

1 slice coarse bread, cut into -inch cubes (about 3/4 cup)

2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1 14-ounce rib-eye steak, butterflied

Salt and pepper

1 garlic clove, smashed

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet. Add shallot and bread cubes, and cook over high heat 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown bread. Shake skillet frequently so bread doesn’t burn. Remove bread and shallot to a bowl. Stir in blue cheese. Set aside.

Rub the steak with remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season steak with salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Rub garlic on both sides of steak. Spoon bread-crumb mixture down center of steak. Insert metal skewers to close with an X.

Place steak on rack over a roasting pan. Press in any bread crumbs that fall out. Roast in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until steak is pink inside and cheese is melted. Let steak rest 5 minutes. Remove skewers, slice and serve. Makes 2 servings.


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