ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Classic New York Steakhouse Strip with Sizzling Thick Bacon and Onions

Serves 4. Recipe is from “Steak and Cake: More Than 100 Recipes to Make Any Meal a Smash Hit” by Elizabeth Karmel. Karmel says, “This is a classic restaurant steak preparation. I call for New York strips because that is my favorite cut of steak, but this recipe will work well with any cut. This rub-enhanced steak is the ‘kicked up’ version of a basic grilled steak. When you make the rub, consider doubling or tripling it. It is a great flavor addition for any cut of beef and keeps for months in an airtight container. That way this recipe is reduced to: oil, sprinkle and grill! A big bonus when you’re short on time.”

4 New York strip steaks (12 to 16 ounces each and about 1½ inches thick)

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, toasted in a skillet (see note)

¼ teaspoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon granulated garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sizzling Thick Bacon and Onions (recipe follows)

Grilling Method: Direct/medium-high heat

Special equipment: Spice grinder

1. Preheat the grill with all burners on high. Once preheated, adjust the temperature to medium-high heat for direct grilling.

2. Wrap the steaks in paper towels to rid them of excess moisture. Replace the paper towels as needed.

3. Coarsely grind the peppercorns in a spice (or coffee) grinder; add the rosemary and grind again. Put the pepper and rosemary mixture in a small bowl and mix in the salt, mustard and garlic.

4. Lightly brush the steaks with olive oil. Sprinkle the rub evenly and lightly on both sides of the steaks. (Too much rub will overseason the meat.)

5. Place the meat on the cooking grate directly over the fire. Cover, cook about 3 minutes for good grill marks, then turn the steaks. Grill for 6 minutes on the second side, then turn the steaks again and grill for 3 minutes more on the first side for medium-rare (135 F on an instant-read thermometer).

6. Remove the meat from the grill and place on a clean platter. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving with a tomato and onion salad and the bacon and onions.

Note: Place the peppercorns in a small cold skillet. Turn the heat to low and let toast, shaking occasionally, until you can smell the aroma of the pepper, about 5 minutes. Don’t place over high heat or the pepper will burn.

Sizzling Thick Bacon and Onions

Serves 4 to 6. This dish can also be served as an appetizer — but you might be tempted to make it for breakfast. It is oven-baked bacon and the best that I have ever eaten!

1 pound best-quality slab bacon

¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar

Leaves from 3 sprigs thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large sweet onions, peeled and cut into thick slices

Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Cut the bacon into ⅛-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle the slices liberally with half the sugar, half the thyme, and salt and pepper on both sides. Place them on a rack set on a sheet pan.

3. Toss the onion rings in olive oil and season with the remaining sugar, thyme and salt. Place the onion rings on the rack with the bacon, if there is room. If there isn’t room, place on a rack set in a separate sheet pan.

4. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the onions are golden, about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Drain on paper towels, then transfer to a serving platter.

Testing note: I needed two sheet pans. Watch carefully after turning the bacon. My second batch cooked much faster than the first. Also, Karmel suggests serving this dish with her Beefsteak Tomato and Vidalia Onion Salad with Steak Sauce Dressing found elsewhere in the book.