Oh, fair readers, it is a gloriously perfect day here in Chicago. It is about 75 degrees, sunny, with a lovely breeze that billows the curtains, musses your hair and reminds you what it is to be alive in this fantastic world. This is, in short, the weather we’ve been waiting for the past 3 months here in the Midwest. I wish we could have had it on Sunday for our annual Memorial Day BBQ, but I can live with the fact that at least it’s finally here. What it truly is, though, is great grilling weather and time to spend with friends.
As you all know, dear readers, I LOVE to eat….but more than that, I love to eat when I’ve found a recipe for something that is truly out of this world and I’ve mastered it myself. One of my favorite restaurants in the Chicagoland area is Wildfire. It is a big, badass steakhouse (yes, they serve chicken and ribs and fish for those who don’t like steak [you know who you are!]), but they are known for their steaks. The interior is cozy-Aspen chic and makes you feel like you’ve just stepped off the slopes into a beautiful lodge with the 1950’s ambiance and fires going. I’ve eaten here many, many times and have never had a bad meal. My favorite entrée, of course, is the filet medallions dinner. They are 3, 3 ounce cuts of filet mignon each with a special crust that you select hardened onto the top….there’s blue cheese, Parmesan, horseradish, mushroom and on and on. This is the photo from the Wildfire website of this glorious meal:
I’ve tried forever to successfully replicate these crusts to no avail, until recently. Yes, that is right, I’ve mastered the Wildfire steak toppings. I know, it’s a total OH. MY. GOD. Now, instead of paying $30 a plate at dinner, you can enjoy these delicious steaks at home!
Therefore, without further ado, here are the recipes:
Blue Cheese Steak Crust Topping (Isn’t the photo of the finished product GORGEOUS?):
1/2 cup Japanese style Panko breadcrumbs
2T salted butter, cubed into small pieces
1/4 c. blue cheese, brand of your choice
1. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter pieces and the blue cheese. Microwave the mixture in 15 second increments until the cheese and butter have melted into each other, stirring frequently to combine ingredients.
2. Once the mixture is melted and stirred, (shaken and stirred, anyone — sorry, I couldn’t resist), add the panko crumbs and mix it all together until you have a lovely crunchy mixture.
3. Cook your steaks to your desired color, temperature, using your preferred method. I personally like my steaks grilled, medium rare to medium, with a touch of pink but not red.
4. Transfer your steaks to a cast-iron skillet, coat the top of the steak with the blue cheese mixture and place into the oven on the broil setting for 1-2 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove from the broiler, let the steak stand for at least 5 minutes and serve!
Parmesan Crust for Steaks (again, check out the food porn shot of the finished product!):
1/2 c. of Japanese panko breadcrumbs
1/4 c. of Parmesan cheese, brand of your choice, shredded
2T of salted butter, cubed
1. Place the butter in a microwave safe dish and microwave it in 10 second increments on medium heat until it is softened and malleable. DO NOT melt it.
2. Once the butter is softened and malleable, combine the panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese into the butter and mix it until all the ingredients are combined and mixture is crunchy.
3. Follow the remaining steps as above for blue cheese topping!
Dietary Note: If you maintain a gluten-free diet, Whole Foods carries gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs that are delicious and work as an excellent substitute for the traditional Panko breadcrumbs, and allow you to enjoy these gloriously wonderful crusts.
Enjoy! And if you attempt these recipes yourself, please let me know how you liked them!