Sunday, June 16, 2013

Turkish Sirloin

Steak Nights are more than opportunities to cook steak; rather, they provide chances for me to be adventurous and creative. On this particular occasion, I decided to make a steak rub based upon spices that help define a particular cuisine.  I did this once before, but it was not a steak dish.  I made a Turkish-Spiced Rockfish.  I decided to take that idea and apply it to steak, making a Turkish Sirloin.

Making a steak rub based upon spices that define Turkish cuisine presented some problems for me.  I am neither Turkish nor an expert on Turkish cuisine.  My only qualification  is my love of Turkish food.  Given a lack of first-hand experience, I had to do some research into the spices that provide Turkish food with its unique character and flavors. This meant that I would have to rely upon the Internet, and, therefore, have to double-check everything for its veracity.

My research led me to select five spices from the wide array of ingredients used by Turkish chefs and home cooks.  The five spices are:

(1) Oregano: This herb or spice is found throughout the Aegean Sea, leaving its mark on both Greek and Turkish cuisine.  It provides a warm, slightly bitter taste and contributes to the aroma of the rub.  

(2) Paprika: This is the Turkish sweet red pepper powder that, by its name, provides a little sweetness to offset the bitterness from the other ingredients.  It also provides the rub with a bright red color.

(3) Cumin: The Turks call it kimyon, and this spice is often used in meat dishes.  Cumin provides a very strong earthiness and a small amount goes much further than other spices, such as oregano.

(4) Aleppo pepper: Turkish cuisine uses a lot of different peppers to spice the dishes.  Aleppo pepper is grown in both Turkey and Syria.  It is the principal source of heat for this rub.  

(5) Sumac: Ordinarily, sumac is used by Turkish chefs and home cooks as a garnish.  However, I wanted to use its burgundy hues to give the rub a darker color, and, I wanted its tangy, citrusy flavor to provide some depth and complexity to the rub.

I think that these spices make a wonderful rub for steaks.  The rub is not too spicy, but it is full of flavor.  I think that I can mark this as one of my more successful, creative endeavors!

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

1 grass-fed sirloin, about 1 pound
1/2 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of sumac powder
1/2 teaspoon of Aleppo powder
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of canola oil

1.  Marinate the steak.  Combine all of the ingredients in a Ziploc bag.  Add the steak and work the marinade around the steak.  Seal the bag and allow the steak to marinate for at least one half hour to overnight.  

2.  Grill or broil the steak.  Grill the steak on medium high heat or under the broiler for about four minutes per side, rotating the steak ninety degrees after a couple of minutes and then flip and repeat. 

Now, if only I could get my hands on a red wine from one of the vineyards in the Marmara or Aegean regions of Turkey.  If you are like me and do not have access to any of those wines, I good Californian Syrah or Chilean Carmenere would probably pair well this dish.


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