This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, May 12, 2005. It is modified from a recipe in Japanese Dishes For Wine Lovers, by Machiko Chiba with wine pairing advice by John K. Whelehan, published in the U.S. by Kodansha America was May 1, 2005.|
INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
1. Coarsely grind an ample amount of black pepper onto a large plate or flat work surface. Press the steak into the pepper until it is well and evenly coated with pepper on both sides. Set aside. (It's best to select a fairly thin, even slice of beef so it can easily be cut into bite-size squares for plating as in the photo above.)
2. Mince the garlic, measure out all the ingredients, and blend the vermouth, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet or saute pan and add the minced garlic and a discreet shake of red-pepper flakes, cooking over medium-high heat until the garlic turns translucent and aromatic. Put in the steak and sear briefly on both sides, no more than a minute or two - the thin steaks will overcook quickly. Put in the vermouth-soy-sugar mixture and cook, turning the meat once or twice, until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce that coats the meat.
4. Remove the steak to a cutting board and slice it into one-inch squares, arranging them neatly on plates garnished with the parsley. Chef gets to eat the scrappy edges!
This made sense to me, so I went with a modest California Syrah that I correctly anticipated would be made in a fairly "Australian" style, the Cline 2002 California Syrah left over from the March edition of our Wine Tasting 101. It was an accessible but not particularly exciting wine, on the fat'n'flabby side, but worked pretty much as Whelehan suggested it would with the bold flavors of the beef, and the dish actually improved the wine. Good call!