Perfect Porterhouse Steak for Two

These porterhouse steaks are the perfect meal for a romantic dinner.

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Best of Both Worlds

Ingredients:

one 2-inch- to 2-1/2-lb. Porterhouse steak
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Heat a grill pan over moderately high heat. Pat the steak dry with paper towels, then rub it with the oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.

Place the steak on the grill pan and cook until well seared on one side, about six to eight minutes. Turn and sear the second side, again for six to eight minutes. Lower the flame to medium and cook, turning once, 10 to 15 minutes more for rare. To check for doneness, nick, peek and cheat: make a 1/4-inch cut in the thickest part of the meat and take a peek; it should be slightly less done than you like it.

Remove the meat from the fire, cover it loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with one of the two sauces below.

Roquefort Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup minced shallot
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup crumbled Roquefort (about 1/4 lb.)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
salt and pepper

Preparation:

In a small heavy saucepan cook the shallot in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the wine and boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Whisk in the flour and cook the mixture, whisking, for three minutes.

Add the milk in a stream, whisking and boil the mixture, whisking, for two minutes. Reduce the heat to low, whisk in the Roquefort, a little at a time, whisking until it is melted and being careful not to let the mixture boil, and strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the parsley, season the sauce with salt and pepper, and serve it with roasted or grilled beef, veal or pork.

Yield: about 1 cup

Béarnaise Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. minced shallots
1 Tbsp. dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste
3 egg yolks
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted in saucepan
2 Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon

Preparation:

In a small saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots and dried tarragon and simmer over moderate heat until reduced to two tablespoons of liquid. Cool and strain through a fine sieve.

In the top of a double boiler whisk the egg yolks until they become thick and sticky. Whisk in the reduced vinegar mixture and pepper. Place the pan or bowl over a saucepan of simmering, not boiling water. Whisk until mixture is warm, about two minutes. (If mixture appears to become lumpy, dip pan immediately in a bowl of ice water to cool, whisk until smooth and then continue recipe.) The yolk mixture has thickened enough when you can see the bottom of the pan between strokes and mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whisk.

While whisking the yolk mixture gradually pour in the melted butter, one tablespoon or so at a time whisking thoroughly to incorporate before adding more butter. As the mixture begins to thicken and become creamy, the butter can be added more rapidly. Do not add the milk solids at the bottom of the melted butter.

Season the sauces, to taste, with chopped tarragon, salt and pepper. To keep the sauce warm, set the pan or bowl in lukewarm water or in a thermos.

Yield: 1 to 1/2 cups

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