The filet isn’t my favorite cut of beef (that would be the ribeye), but I do enjoy them from time to time — especially when I come a across a couple for a good price as I did tonight. We’ve talked before about how to make a good steak, so I’ll just sum up the process in a few words: good oil, hot cast iron, and plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Of greater interest to me tonight are the side dishes. I wasn’t really in the mood for a meat-and-potatoes dinner, and when I stumbled onto some lovely rainbow carrots and Arkansas-grown baby chard at the market tonight, I knew just what I wanted to do — glaze those carrots with ginger-flavored honey to add sweetness to the plate and braise the chard with a lot of garlic and lemon to add some colorful and tangy brightness. Both preparations are quite simple, but quite delicious.
Honey-ginger glazed carrots
- 1 pound carrots. I used a bunch of multicolored ones, but the good old orange variety are just fine.
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
Scrub and peel the carrots, then cut them on the diagonal to form medallions. Toss them with the olive oil and salt and roast them in a 450-degree oven for 15 minutes, until just tender and starting to brown. In a saucepan, heat the honey, butter, and ginger over medium heat and cook until the butter stops foaming and the ginger begins to turn translucent. Add the carrots, stirring to coat with the honey mixture. Cook for 5 minutes until the carrots are nicely glazed. Try not to drink the honey mixture — it’s really good.
Braised baby chard
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, taking care not to brown it. Add the chard, stirring to coat the greens with the oil and distribute the garlic evenly. When the chard begins to wilt, squeeze the half-lemon over the pan, stirring well once again to coat. When the leaves begin to give off liquid, the chard is done. Various types of vinegar can also be used to add a bit of acidity to these greens — play around to see what tastes you like the most.
In the end, the side dishes we made tonight wound up being a bigger star than the steaks — although the steaks were pretty good. Pan-wilted greens are a lovely addition to any plate, both for the eyes and the tongue, and the natural sweetness of carrots is made only better by the addition of honey. Happy cooking!