It was four years ago that my now fiancée and I swore off eating out on Valentine's day. The advanced reservations, overpriced pre-fixes, and crowds were more conducive to stress than romance. So Valentine's has become a time for a special home-cooked meal, and when I asked my lady what she might like on the menu this year, like any good Texan, she promptly replied, "Steak!" I don't want to be flying blind when the big day comes, so I've been trying out various steak recipes in preparation, including this Korean-style one.
Mixing the fiancée's request with a relatively quick meal--allowing me to spend more time with her than in the kitchen--this seemed like an appropriate choice. The steaks go into a soy sauce and sherry based marinade for an hour, which gives me ample time to make the spicy cilantro sauce topper. After a short time on the grill over high heat, the steaks are sliced, placed over rice, and topped with the sauce. The cilantro lends a nice freshness to the dish, although the combination of a marinade and spicy sauce overpowers the beefiness of the steaks, at least for this meat aficionado. All-in-all, it's a decent meal. It may not be the final choice for V-day dinner, but it's definitely in the running.
Grilled Korean-Style Steaks with Spicy Cilantro Sauce
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 6 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, about 3/4 pound each
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (including roots and stems)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon minced seeded fresh habanero or serrano chile (optional)
- 1 (4-inch-long) fresh hot red chile, chopped (optional)
Stir together 3/4 cup soy sauce, sherry, sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish until sugar is dissolved, then add steaks, turning to coat. Marinate steaks, turning once, for 1 hour.
While the steaks marinate, mix together cilantro, vegetable oil, lime juice, remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and chile if using. Set aside.
Heat grill to high heat, and when ready, grill steaks 3 to 4 minutes per each side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices and then top with some sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.