I travel for work. Not usually four times in four weeks, like this month (crazy!), but from time to time. Frequently, this means sandwiches at the airport and burnt coffee during the hotel’s continental breakfast. Occasionally, this means some truly delicious and unique eats.
On a trip last year, I had one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. Generally, steak to me means meat. No frills needed. Just cook it, maybe a little salt and pepper, call it a day. SO good.
But this was a feta-crusted steak. As a lover of salt and cheese, feta is a natural choice for one of my favorite foods. Good feta literally sits in BRINE. Can’t get any more salty/cheesy than cheese that soaks in saltwater all the time.
Brined to the MAX.
I’ve been looking to re-create this feta-topped steak since I ate it. It took me more than a year to make this first attempt. Steak is just so good without extra toppings, and whenever I ask my husband if he wants to try it, he just wants to grill regular steaks. And since he’s the house grillmaster, I never turn it down when he wants to grill.
However, this past week, we were completely out of charcoal, meaning grilling was not an option. So I went ahead with my attempt.
If you are familiar with feta, you know that stuff is crumbly. Getting it to stick to anything (like a steak) is virtually impossible. So, step one is whipping the feta into something of a spread. I used 2 oz of feta cheese, a tablespoon of olive oil and my stick blender to make it happen. If I ever get to make this again (maybe next year?), I’m going to try perhaps some Greek yogurt instead of olive oil, to help the feta crisp better later, but the recipe is still delicious so I didn’t want to hold back!
I started by whipping the feta by itself, then adding the olive oil a little bit at a time, and beating until it was creamy.
Then it was time for the steaks. I used NY strip steaks and I completely forgot to look to see how big they were. Maybe 8oz each? They were large, but not very thick. (I’d actually do smaller and thicker next time if I could.)
Pat the steaks dry and rub them with a bit of olive oil, then sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. I used a cast iron skillet to sear the steaks, then finished them in the oven for a few minutes.
Drizzle some additional olive oil in the skillet and let it get REALLY hot. It should be smoking slightly before you add the steaks, and when you add them, they should start sizzling – loudly and immediately.
Let the steaks sit on one side for three minutes without moving them. This helps develop a nice crust. Observe:
Flip the steaks and immediately place them in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Take the steaks out, turn your broiler on high, and quickly top the steaks with the feta. Broil for 1 minute or until the feta is melty and bubbly and mmmmmm.
With this method of cooking, my steaks ended up as medium/medium-well, perfect for me, but adjust the cooking time as needed. Let the steaks rest for a few minutes once you take them out of the oven. Then: DIG IN!