A New Steak for a New Year
Few words gladden a carnivore’s heart more than this one: steak. Rib-eye, filet mignon, Porterhouse, even the once-humble skirt steak—are rich and celebratory meats, and at today’s prices, a bit of a splurge.
And while we love steaks seasoned simply with coarse salt and pepper and expertly charred over live fire, we were intrigued by a preparation for Persian steak described to us by Steven’s friend, California-based architect Marco Brambilla. Marco certainly comes by his passion for global grilling naturally: he was born in Iran of an Armenian mother and Italian father. He speaks 9 languages (and reads a few dead ones) and has worked as an architect throughout Europe, the Middle and Near East, Asia, and of course the U.S. His grilling is as polyglot as his language skills and over the next few months, you’ll be reading about Marco’s grilled eggs and saffron chicken.
The steak is called “barg kebab,” or “leaf kebab” (barg is the Farsi term for leaf), it is beefsteak marinated in a mixture of onion or onion juice, saffron-infused water, salt, and pepper, and grilled over a hot fire, and served with rice and char-grilled vegetables.
Here is how Marco described it to Steven in a recent email (accompanied by photos):
Use New York steak (rasteh in Persian), butterfly to about half an inch or less, marinate in a lot of chopped onion with salt and pepper, well-massaged for 5 minutes or so, and a little olive oil.
Chop with the back of the knife to tenderize the meat and to flatten it out and then with the edge of the knife to make sure some pieces are cut through Put in the freezer for 30 – 45 minutes, then in the refrigerator overnight or for 4 – 6 hours.
Skewer on flat metal skewers over a wet cutting and brush with onion juice and saffron water.
Grill over medium-high heat (remove the pieces of onion as they will burn.
In the end, you can also brush the meat with butter and more saffron water before serving. Kebab bar is served typically with rice, grilled tomatoes and garnished with ground sumac and a mix of chopped onions and parsley.
Here is the recipe, and be sure to tell us what you think after you’ve tried it. Do you have a novel preparation for steak? Please share it!
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