Praise for a glaze (with a side of meat oil)

I’m just wild about a new culinary discovery! It all began with Costco, as many of my kitchen adventures do, and a purchase I made that was proving difficult to fit in the freezer, which resulted in my pulling out a few sirloins and deciding that the time had come to cook them. A couple of days later, after they’d defrosted, I thought a marinade would be a good idea, so I pulled out some trusty old faithful pantry staples and just went rogue with the measurements. This is more or less what I added to the mix:

About three pounds of steak
As much olive oil as you can pour while saying “La la la la la la”
A generous dousing of soy sauce (substitute coconut aminos for GF)
Garlic powder aplenty
A roughly ten-second pour of Worcestershire sauce
About a handful plus a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar

When it came time to fire up the grill pan, I forlornly considered unceremoniously disposing of the leftover marinade, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it considering the liberal quantities of product my heavy hand had dispensed, so I committed to try repurposing it. Out came a saucepan, in went the marinade, on went the gas range. I boiled the concoction until I felt certain that no contaminant could have survived, at which point the oil and the solids had separated, resulting in a layer of seasoning silt the color of stained walnut on the bottom of the pan beneath a hot blanket of honey-hued oil. I poured the oil off into a bowl, then scraped the umami sediment into another bowl, at this point unsure of what I’d created.

Meanwhile, the steaks had great grill marks, so I slid them into the oven at 425 to nudge them a little closer to medium rare, at which point I removed them to a plate to rest and cut a corner off of one to test the temperature. After a few minutes, the plate had collected a modest lagoon of au jus, and just then (and just in time), inspiration struck. I poured the liquid off the plate and into the bowl containing the savory marinade alluvium, and what resulted was a most delightfully glossy gravy with the consistency of a glaze. Naturally, the proof was in the pudding, so I tasted it and was pleasantly surprised. I knew better than to sucker punch my kids’ taste buds by lathering it on their steak slices, but they were given the option to dip (one out of three opted in), but the glaze got the green light from the adult contingent to the point that I will do everything the same next time (but maybe I’ll go nuts and add a second or two to the Worcestershire pour).

And what about the bowl of oil? Well, that gorgeous, golden plant fat had now been married with the flavor of grilled steak and a bouquet of piquant flavors from the other marinade ingredients. The infusion was at once decadent and restrained, yielding a most beautiful balance on the palate, and I couldn’t think of a better use for it than to toss it into a bowl of cherry tomatoes (about a pound). From there, the lot went into a glass baking dish with a shake of salt and pepper then onto the middle rack of the oven (now set to 400) for the better part of an hour, and the resulting liquor made a most delicious dressing for a bowl of fettuccine.

I rode the endorphins from this creative cookery experience for a few minutes, delighting in the unexpected success of the experiment and congratulating myself on the choice to try boiling the marinade, but reality quickly tugged me back to Earth with these words: “Mommy? Can we have hotdogs and fries for dinner tomorrow?”

I guess she won’t be telling all of her friends about her mom’s special meat oil pasta tomorrow. Hebrew National and Ore-Ida, you win this round.

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