Saturday, August 15, 2015

5. Coffee-Rubbed Ribeye Tacos with Caramelized Onions, Creamy Horseradish-Gorgonzola Sauce, and Microgreens


When I started this project, I decided to present a variety of taco recipes.  Though I am not currently a vegetarian, I wanted to make sure to get past the ground meat, shredded cheese, and lettuce type of taco that I grew up with.  There's nothing wrong with those . . . but 100 recipes is a lot!

Since my last recipe was vegan, I decided to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and make some STEAK tacos!  Luckily, I had one big pasture-raised ribeye steak from Chiricahua Pasture Raised Meats in the freezer.  I also had some Gorgonzola cheese in the refrigerator that I bought for something else last week.  Also, I recently noticed that our Safeway has begun to carry a variety of delicious looking microgreens . . . and so, this recipe was born!

Disclaimer:  I usually cop out when it comes to cooking steak.  My husband is pretty picky about how his steaks are cooked.  I am, too, but I'm just a little less dramatic about it.  (For me, if it's cooked more than medium-rare, it's less than ideal.  According to him, if it's cooked more than medium-rare, it's basically ruined.)  Since I was a vegetarian for so long, I usually prepare everything else (the marinade, the rub, etc.) and then hand him the steaks, saying, "Here, cook these."  Then it's out of my hands.  See how that works?  If they are overcooked, it's not my fault - ha ha!

Well . . . I've decided I can't really do that anymore.  If I'm going to post a recipe for steak tacos, I have to cook the steak myself.  I turned to - who else?  Gordon Ramsay:  I watched this video a couple of times to get my confidence up!  Sure . . . I can do that! 

Anyway read on to find out all about these delicious steak tacos:

Coffee-Rubbed Ribeye Tacos with Caramelized Onions, Creamy Horseradish-Gorgonzola Sauce, and Microgreens

Serves 2-4 (4 to 8 tacos, depending on the size of your steak)


For the caramelized onions:

2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the creamy horseradish-Gorgonzola sauce

½ cup sour cream
¼ cup prepared horseradish
¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese
1 ½ tsp. cider vinegar
Pinch Piment d'Espelette or cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. minced chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the steak:

1 tsp. coffee beans
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. salt
One medium to large boneless ribeye steak (mine was about 12 oz.), at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil
Canola oil for the pan
A few pats of butter

Microgreens of your choice

4-8 small flour tortillas (street-taco size)

1.  Make the caramelized onions:  Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and brown.  Be patient!  It seems like a lot of onions, but they will cook down significantly.  Once they are fully caramelized, season with the salt and pepper, set them aside, and keep them warm.

2.  While the onions are cooking, combine the sour cream, Gorgonzola cheese, horseradish, vinegar, and Piment d'Espelette in a small bowl.  Blend with a hand blender until fairly smooth.  Stir in the chives.  Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

3.  Grind the coffee beans and pepper corns in a spice/coffee grinder.  In a small bowl, combine with the smoked paprika and salt.  Season each side of steak with kosher salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Coat one side of the steak with the rub, pressing it into the steak so it will stick.

4.  Cook the steak:  Heat a pan over high heat.  When the pan is very hot, add a big drizzle of canola oil.  Add the steak, rub side down, and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.  Turn over, add some butter to the pan, and allow to cook until close to desired doneness (We like medium-rare.)  Using tongs, turn the steak on its side to allow some of the fat to render.  Move the steak to a plate and spoon some of the melted butter/rub mixture over the top.  Cover with foil and allow to rest.

5.  While the steak rests, heat the tortillas.  This is a quick step.  You could do this (gently) in a microwave, but I prefer to heat them one by one in a dry cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, about 30 seconds on each side.  Using this method, these heated much faster than my usual corn tortillas.  Stack them on a sheet of foil, and when all the tortillas are heated, wrap them up.

6.  Thinly slice the steak.

7.  Assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate and spoon a small amount of caramelized onions down the center.  Top with a few slices of the steak, a sprinkle of microgreens, and a drizzle of the sauce.  If you like, you can garnish with a little bit of extra Gorgonzola cheese (me) or some extra horseradish (Steve).  Enjoy!

You can see from the pictures that we served corn on the cob with these.  Well . . . Steve is leaving for an art workshop tomorrow and we had a couple of ears in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten.  So, that's how that happened.  You can skip the corn or serve it with whatever else you like.  The corn was a pretty good match for this taco, though.  If you can find good corn, I would recommend it!

Overall, this recipe was a winner.  The caramelized onions were so good!  Steve compared them to a bass player - they don't necessarily jump out at you all the time, but you would miss them if they weren't there.  I think that's a good way to put it.

At first, Steve said the sauce "needed something".  He added some extra horseradish, and that seemed to do the trick.  As long as I have known him, no horseradish sauce has EVER been strong enough for him.  I think most people with normal taste buds will like the sauce the way it is - ha ha!

The microgreens didn't play a huge role in terms of flavor, but they looked so cool that I would definitely use them again.  I think they count as a token green vegetable, too.  Don't they?

If your steak is smallish, you will probably have some extra sauce and onions.  This is not necessarily a problem - I can think of a LOT of things I could put these on!  However, you could adjust the amounts of those things if you don't want leftovers.

OK.  I have to tell the truth.  The steak.  Sigh.  It turned out fine in the end, but I still need to practice my steak-cooking technique.  I got the pan REALLY hot, threw the steak in, and then panicked because I thought the rub was burning.  I think I turned it too soon, and I definitely took it out too soon.  It was extremely rare.  I'm not going to lie.  I had to wash the pan out, heat it back up, and throw the steak in for another round.  If Gordon was watching, I think there is a 99.2 percent chance that he would have been hurling expletives all over my kitchen.  That would have been kind of awesome, actually.  I would consider wrecking a steak on purpose just to have that happen.

Anyway . . . as you can see from the pictures, the steak was not overcooked.  It turned out just fine.  I need to practice with MORE steak tacos!

Well, I'm on my own for the next few days.  I'm going to take advantage of this time and cook all of the things that Steve doesn't really like.  Ha!  Next up:  butternut squash tacos.  My friend, Stacey, has graciously agreed to come over and help me test them.  :)

Thanks for reading!

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