When I eat beef, which isn’t often, I like my cuts with substantial marbling, a nice crust, and more rare than not. I love New York Strip, but I also dream of La Boca’s Entrana Fina, the “outside skirt” grilled lovingly by Chef Jared Ralls. Jared cooks the steak skin on, so the result is a lusty tender piece of meat with a crispy edible skin. Think steak duck confit. In the Warehouse District of New Orleans, La Boca sources beef from Painted Hills Organic Farms, Snake River Farms and local cuts from Whispering Pines.
I am currently developing recipes for Cooking Light magazine. Yes, light, meaning less fat, less marbling, no crispy skin anything. I went to my local butcher with an open mind and bought the leaner cut tenderloin. After several tests–including a tasting with my Cajun-born and very good (non-light) cook brother-in-law Steve, I came up with this lighter and very flavorful recipe. The Maple-roasted pears and shallots (roasted at 425 for 20 minutes) would also be good with pork, duck, and venison. Or on their own with a few greens and toasted pistachios for a meatless course. I sauteed some dandelion greens to balance out the dish–I would definitely eat and serve this to guests again.
This does not mean I am giving up Jared’s steak confit or my strips, but (and this is for all you bacon-loving friends) cooking “light” can be flavorful and satisfying. Look for these recipes and more in a future Cooking Light issue.