POM Pomegranate Steak in a Parmesan Crisp
After cooking with POM pomegranate juice for eight months now, one of the things I've found is that it's an excellent ingredient substitute for red wine, especially the lighter varietals. It can give a similar wine-like sensation, yet the fruitiness provides a freshness and brightness that's hard to capture in an aged red.
One of the tricks with cooking with red wine, especially reducing it, is handling the astringency. Pomegranate juice shares this, and it's something to watch for. According to food scientist Harry McGee, tannins in food love to bond to proteins (thus their name -- tannins will "tan" animal hides by bonding with perishable skin proteins). If there aren't enough proteins in direct contact with the tannins, they will bind with the proteins in saliva, causing that sticky sensation after a glass of heavy red wine. The trick for a cook is to provide some protein in the meal to lessen the astringency, so the meal has a bit of the feel, without gumming up the mouth. This can be as simple as adding some mustard when making a vinaigrette. It also explains the long history of cooking red wine and beef together.
For August's POM blogger recipe, I made a POM pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar marinade with beef, reduced the marinade into a sauce, seared the beef with some blanched green beans, and served it all in a Parmesan crisp "bowl". A single bowl can be made as an appetizer, or several as a meal.
I used filet for the beef, but any tender meaty cut will do. Flatiron would work well. I trimmed the silverskin and some fat chunks off the beef, then cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
I put the cubes in a bowl, and created the marinade with a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a minced clove of garlic, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and a cup of POM 100% pomegranate juice.
The beef would sit in the marinade for about an hour.
While the flavor soaked into the beef, I snapped the ends off some fresh summer green beans and chopped them into 1-2 inch lengths. I had a pot of heavily salted water boiling, and I tossed the bean in the water to blanch. After 3-4 minutes, when just barely undercooked (they'll finish later), I plunged them into ice water. The salt in the water brings out a vibrant green in the beans, and shocking them in cold water stops the cooking process and keeps that green.
I put the beans on some paper towels and kept them wrapped in the fridge while working on the Parmesan crisps. I used a fine grater to grate about 1/2 cup of Parmesan Reggiano. I spread out four "pools" of Parmesan on some parchment paper placed over a baking sheet. They went into a 375 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes, until bubbling in the center. I carefully lifted the soft Parmesan and placed it over mini cups, so the Parmesan would harden as it draped over the cups.
After the beef had marinaded, I moved most of the marinade into a small saucepan and reduced it over medium heat until it thickened. Right before serving, I poured the sauce through a strainer.
While the sauce was reducing, I heated a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, I added some olive oil, and put the drained beef cubes in the pan. Due to the pomegranate and balsamic vinegar, the beef seared quickly, so they had to be moved around to keep things just right -- seared on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside. A minute before the beef was done, I added the green beans, just until they heated through on the hot pan.
For plating, the Parmesan bowls were placed on a plate, some beef and beans filled the cups, and some pomegranate balsamic sauce was drizzled over everything.
Recipe: POM Pomegranate Steak in a Parmesan Crisp 1 cup POM 100% pomegranate juice 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, minced 10 oz tender beef, diced into 1/2 inch cubes 1/2 pound green beans 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan Reggiano
Deconstruction: I wish we had a shot of a cube of beef cut in half. There was such a pretty darkness to the sear, yet the inside was perfectly medium pink. The juice gave some fresh summer fruitiness to the beef, and the balsamic some smokey tang. The green beans were a great crunch next to the tender beef. I wish the crisps had been more rounded, they hardened flatter than I wanted, but they were seriously tasty.