Monday, October 3, 2011

Appetizer: Steak Panzanella Kabobs

My parents hopped across the Great Smoky Mountains for a visit two weekends ago. I didn't blog about any of the food because I wanted to relax and just enjoy the visit. It was fun improvising dishes and not worrying about writing down what I did. We just talked in the kitchen while I threw things together.

One of the things I made up was a beef appetizer that we thought was rather good. It reminded me of panzanella (bread salad)....with steak....on a stick.

I made a few tweaks to it this weekend. The beefy taste, the acidic bite from the tomato, the crunch of the bread and the sweet sauce combine for a great appetizer. Alexis declared them to be the perfect “one bite”.

Note: I am basing the counts marked with an asterisk* on that I got 24 cubes from one large ribeye. You might get a little more or less depending on the size of your steak. 

Steak Panzanella Kabobs
1 ribeye steak, cut into bite sized pieces (about 3/4” cubes)
12* cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
24* cocktail skewers
½ loaf of French bread
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch salt

½ shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red pepper, finely chopped and seeded (you could substitute 1 tsp of red pepper flake)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 clove, finely chopped
¼ cup marsala wine
½ cup beef stock
2 Tbsp demi glace
1 Tbsp chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter, cold

Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the steak cubes for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Marinate the tomatoes in the vinaigrette.

Tear the bread into 24* bite sized chunks and place on a sheet pan. 

Drizzle a little olive oil (maybe 1 Tbsp) over the bread and toss to coat. Toast in a 425f oven for 8 minutes or until crispy. Season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to grill, make the sauce. In a pan over medium high heat, saute the shallot in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, reducing the heat if necessary to keep from burning the garlic.

Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine and let it simmer until it reduces it's volume by about half. Add the beef stock and stir in the demi glace until it is dissolved. If you don't have demi glace you could try substituting beef base but I would start with 1 Tablespoon and add from there. Taste for seasoning. I added a pinch or two of salt and about 4 twists from a pepper grinder. Set aside.

Place 1 piece of steak on the end of each cocktail skewer. 

Preheat your grill to medium high heat.    Use a kabob shield (you can make one by folding a piece of heavy duty foil over several times) to protect the exposed skewer. Grill for 5-6 minutes, turning every minute or so. 

Remove from grill and add 1 half tomato to the skewer. Return to grill for one more minute. 

Remove from grill. Add 1 piece of toast to each skewer.

Reheat the sauce over medium low heat. Add the chives and stir in a cold tablespoon of butter until it melts. (This will help re-emuslify the sauce and keep it from splitting when reheating.)

Serve the kabobs warm, topped with the sauce. 

Don't sauce them until ready to serve, the bread needs to be crisp, not soggy.  If serving for a crowd, plate them something like this and then let people sauce their own.

I am adding this to my short list of "signature dishes".  You could make this with other cuts of beef.  this would be perfect for using the trimmings from a beef tenderloin.

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