Think you can’t go low carb with Italian? Think Italian means only pizza, breadsticks and pasta? Well, think harder! Italian cuisine is robustly expansive. Just remember Italy has a long coastline. Fish is prominent and I’m not talking Captain D’s.
Then there’s the sumptuous meats, from Parma ham to another thousand varieties of cured meats and salamis. Salami itself is another wonder world of flavors and none of them taste like the packaged, un-definable, nitrate saturated stuff labeled salami in most American supermarkets.
Today, I’ll take you past even the Italian meats you know and let you in on a new favorite of mine, Sirloin Italian Style.
This recipe isn’t original, but then few recipes are. The basis came from a magazine, Tastes of Italia. Nice magazine that’s mostly about Italians who immigrated to California a few generations ago, but haven’t forgotten how to cook.
Hard to call this a recipe, which is essentially steak and wine, with chopped this and that, all of it your choice. But, that’s the essence of cooking, right? Machines can easily be programmed to follow recipes. How do you think canned goods and even bread can be shipped, or baked around the country, and always taste the same?
As a rule, I stay away from prepared foods, but I have to admit I don’t make my own donuts.
Home cooking seldom tastes the same way twice, because it’s seldom prepared the same way twice, even when you use the same ingredients. Why? The meats and vegetables are never exactly the same.
Check this simple example: Every time I squeeze fresh orange juice, there’s always a difference in flavor. Maybe because I used different varieties, but most likely it’s because every orange is different, even if they all come from the same tree. Then why do commercial orange juices always taste exactly the same?
Commercial orange juice is a combination of thousands of oranges, often stored in huge vats for up to a year. All the air is removed from the vats to prolong the life of the juice. Lack of air also makes the juice tasteless, or so I’m told. Companies then use specific flavor enhancers to re-flavor the juice and therefore it all tastes the same, every time.
Ok, let’s get back to Italian steak and wine. This recipe, as simple as it is, needs some forethought. Follow along and you’ll see why. One of the things I love about this recipe is that with a little planning, I’m never working very long at any one time.
Sirloin Steak Italian Style
About 2 Pounds (1 kilo) of sirloin. I used two good-sized steaks.
1 bottle of dry red wine
Diced vegetables of your choice. I used half a thin sliced onion, four cloves of garlic chopped, two stalks of celery diced, and two good-sized sprigs of fresh rosemary. Surely you have a rosemary bush growing in your garden or flowerbed. No? You heathen!
Some people say to chop the rosemary. No need. The leaves come off in the cooking and the stalks are easily removed before serving.
Salt and pepper the steaks. Put them in a gallon sized, sealable bag. Add the vegetables and the full bottle of wine.
Put the bag in the refrig and leave it overnight. Turn the bag every now and then.
The next day, preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
Remove the steaks, brushing off the marinade, add a little olive oil to a large frying pan and quickly sear them on both sides. Leave the steaks in the pan and pour in the bag of marinade. Bring to a boil. Cover and put the pan in the 350ºF (180ºC) oven for two hours.
I served mine with broccoli, steamed, then pan roasted. Add Mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) and soy sauce as the broccoli is roasting.
Ok. Time to refresh your hungry guests’ goblets and get down to some Sirloin Italian Style!
Just be prepared for at least one guest to remark: “Jeez, I thought Italian meant pasta.” Those folks clearly have no imagination. Don’t invite them back and turn down all their invitations unless you want to dine on cans of Chef Boy-r-something, or Coast-to-Coast Pizza.
Why would you want to punish your taste buds like that, when I'm offering you Sirloin Steak Italian Style?