About 20 years ago, a childhood acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen in 25, or so years, returned to Miami for a visit. I was able to run into him while he was here and spend a little time together. He was starting on a new side business venture in which I became involved with him in. To make a long story short, over the next few years we embarked on several adventures together, along with another schoolmate of ours.
My two friends and I would spend time together traveling around to different functions and basically just having a good time. One of our frequent rituals was to go to different steak houses around the places we were to dine. My friend’s favorite meal was steak and lobster, and I believe he would eat it daily if it were available. He knew where you could get, in his opinion, a good steak, just about anywhere you went, and we tried a lot of them.
Now I have to be honest, a lot of the places we went were more show than anything else. Being from Beef Country, I can honestly say that some of these steaks they were charging $75 a piece for, were no better, or even as good as a steak prepared at home in Oklahoma, and we ate them from Chicago to Las Vegas, and many places in between.
All three of us growing up blue collar kids, it was still quite an adventure going to these places, and we were even able to learn a few things along the way. One being, that even though you may be the only patrons in the place wearing blue jeans and tennis shoes, your money is just as green as the guys dining in a dinner jacket. Another lesson learned, is to never order a $100 steak and then ask for a bottle of ketchup to pour on your steak, you could end up in an encounter with a very irritated chef holding a 6-inch blade butcher knife in his hand. But the thing I learned more than any other was, just because the cost of a steak dinner is $75 to $100, it doesn’t mean it will be any better than a $25 Oklahoma steak. In fact, I ate better steaks at Cattleman’s in OKC, The Stables in Miami and at home off my own grill, than I have in most of those high dollar restaurants.
I remember we were eating a steak in Chicago one night at a place called the Gaslight Club, where the steaks price range were from $65 to $90 a piece. The steak was served with a plain ole baked potato, salad, and no bread. The steak was good, but the sides were nothing special at all. You would have thought if they were going to ask that much for a meal, they might have at least offered an extra dollop of butter for your potato, or something? To me, a steak dinner should be more than just the cut of meat, and if I’m going to invest in preparing an expensive cut of meat at home, I want the rest of the meal to be on the same level. I will do different type of sides to go along with the steak, including the potato. Periodically, as a switch from some sort of baked potato, I’ll prepare these Rosemary Roasted Potatoes. They are simple to make, and complement a good grilled steak or grilled pork chop, about as good as anything. You might give these a try the next time you’re grilling steaks at home, along with a fresh made salad, and of course, BREAD…….
Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Red or Yukon Gold Potatoes
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I substitute melted butter instead)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary or 3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2-1 teaspoon fresh, ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wash and halve the potatoes and chop them into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skins on.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and toss them with the olive oil or melted butter, rosemary, salt and pepper. The potatoes should be evenly coated.
Spread the potatoes out in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the potatoes are golden and crispy on the outside and tender inside, gently tossing every 15 minutes.
Remove potatoes from oven and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve while still hot and crispy.