May 19, 2007

Surf & Turf

I've never been a big fan of the surf 'n turf platters in restaurants. When I have occasionally had them, they've been disappointingly cooked steaks with even more disappointingly dry, tough, overcooked, often tiny shrimp. I stopped trying them a long time ago.

While it seems strange to think of pairing seafood with beef, really, I think I understand the intent: both are luxurious items, so the combination must be even better, right? In the words of Homer Simpson, "I'll have your finest food, stuffed with your second finest food." Which, as you may know, turned out to be lobster stuffed with tacos.

I wanted a nice dinner for our anniversary. It's our tenth, so something a little special or unusual seemed the thing to do, but as we are saving money right now (and moving across town very shortly), we decided to stay in for dinner rather than go to one of our favourite special occasion haunts. Since I had a lovely bottle of Saintsbury Garnet Pinot Noir on hand, thanks to my sister, all I needed were a few items from the market to make a festive meal.

There aren't really recipes attached to this dinner - the tenderloin steaks started at room temperature, were seasoned with salt and pepper, quickly seared on both sides and placed in the oven for about four minutes to come up to temperature. As soon as they went into the oven, I melted some butter, added the freshly shelled, raw prawns, tossed once, added kosher salt and coarsely pounded black and white peppercorns, tossed again for a couple of minutes until they all started to pinken, then turned the flame off and added a couple of cloves of fresh garlic. The garlic softened and mellowed while the steaks rested on the cutting board. We ate a whole pound of prawns (well, that was their shell-on weight) between the two of us, since the theme was indulgent luxury. The asparagus were simply roasted on a piece of foil on a sheet in the oven for about seven minutes, so they still had a bit of a crisp bite. Ten minutes gets you silky, tender stalks.

Simple, and good. A fitting meal, we thought, for the ten years that we've spent together so far.

We had no room for dessert. The vanilla ice cream and limoncello drizzle would have to wait for another day.