Trim the excess fat from the steaks and season them with salt and pepper. Let the steaks stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the Tomato Sauce.
Tomato Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and cook the sauce over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce thickens. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar, if needed. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat in a braising or sauté pan. When very hot, place the steak in the pan. Sear for 2 minutes, turn and sear for 15 seconds more. Pour the Tomato Sauce over and around the steaks and cover the pan. Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and quick-braise the steaks for 5 to 8 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare. When done, scrape the sauce off the steaks into the skillet and transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Tent the steaks with aluminum foil. Stir the wine into the tomato sauce and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened.
To serve, Pour some of the Tomato-Red Wine Sauce on each of four plates. Slice the steaks into ½-inch slices and fan them out on the sauce. Top each serving with a drizzle of the sauce. Serves 4.
Serving suggestion: Serve fingerling potatoes and green beans on the side.
Wine Recommendation by Patrick Nichols: 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma County.
Red Wine Sauce:
Trim excess fat from the steak, if desired. Place the steak on a cutting board or in a shallow pan
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well. Baste both sides of each steak with the mixture, using all of the mixture. Let the steaks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat a stainless steel skillet (oven-proof) over medium-high to high heat. When very hot, place the steaks in the skillet. Sear for 2 minutes, turn and sear the other side for 30 seconds more. Pour or spoon the excess fat from the skillet.
Place the steaks (still in the skillet) in a 425 degree oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the skillet from the oven (cover the skillet handle with a handle cover to prevent burning hands) and place on the range top. Immediately pour the brandy over the steaks and ignite with a long match. Shake the pan gently until the flames die. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce.
Red Wine Sauce: Add the red wine to the skillet drippings, stirring up the browned bits. Boil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half.
To serve, cut each rib eye steaks in four pieces, or into 1-inch slices and arrange them on four plates. Top each with some of the wine sauce. Serves 4.
Serving Suggestion: Serve the rib-eye steaks with Aligot (recipe follows).
Wine Recommendation by Patrick Nichols: 2003 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.
Place the potatoes and sliced garlic cloves in a Dutch oven and cover generously with water. Add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the potatoes until they are very tender. Drain off the water and mash the potatoes using a hand masher.
Add the butter and about 4 tablespoons of the cremé fraiche and beat with an electric mixture on high speed until smooth. Add the shredded cheese, a handful at a time, mixing continually, until the cheese is melted and the mixture is creamy. Place the Dutch oven over medium-low heat and stir the potatoes frequently with a heat-proof spatula or wooded spoon for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are heated throughout and take on a stringy texture. (If overheated the cheese will break.) Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Tip: Aligot is typically made with a Tomme or Cantal cheese. Since these cheeses are difficult to find, Gruyère or aged white cheddar make good substitutes.
Recipes by Jayni Carey © Copyright March, 2009