Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Salt-and-Pepper-Crusted Steaks with Goat-Cheese-and-Herb Potatoes

When it’s time for the next meat-and-potatoes dinner, keep it lighter with a simple, tasty salt-and-pepper crust on grilled steak and twice-baked potatoes without the “load” of butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, and whatever else. All these toppings serve only to disguise the true potato flavor—not to mention add way too many calories and unnecessary fat.

For this recipe, I grilled juicy filet mignon lightly rubbed with olive oil and pressed into a layer of freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Be generous with both—if you’re not on a salt-restricted diet—and enjoy a little spicy, salty crunch on the outside of a fork-tender, medium-rare steak.

Have you ever stood over a big bin of russet potatoes at the market and just breathed in the wonderful earthy aroma that rises from it? Don’t stand there long enough to raise eyebrows, but do enjoy the beautiful scent of the humble potato as nature intended. That’s what potatoes should bring to your table, too.

The twice-baked potatoes in this recipe are flavored with a little creamy, tangy goat cheese and a bounty of fresh herbs to accent—not hide—the real flavor of the spud. They’re not loaded, but they’re lovable. (And that’s why they deserve to be slow-baked in a real oven. No microwaves, please.)

Serves 2


For the Potatoes
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1.5 oz goat cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp each chopped fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme (or herbs of your choice), tossed together
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Chopped Herbs for the Twice-Baked Potatoes
For the Steaks
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 6-oz filet mignon, about 2 inches thick (may be sold bacon-wrapped)
  • olive oil, for rubbing

For the Potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 
  2. Scrub the potatoes and prick them all over with a fork. Wrap each tightly in foil and bake for 2 hours.
  3. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. (Leave the oven on.) Carefully unwrap the potatoes and slice in half lengthwise. Scoop the flesh from all 4 halves into a bowl, reserving 2 of the skins.
  4. Add the softened goat cheese and 2/3 of the chopped herbs to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Mound the potato mixture blend in the 2 reserved skins and place on a sheet of foil.
  6. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the remaining herbs on top.
Potato Filling with Goat Cheese and Herbs
Stuffed Potatoes Ready to Bake
For the Steaks

  1. Light a charcoal or gas grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Combine and spread the pepper and salt on a plate. Rub the steaks with olive oil and press both sides of each into the pepper-salt mixture. Let rest while the grill heats.
  3. Grill the steaks 3 minutes on 1 side, then turn and grill 3-4 minutes longer. Repeat, for a total of 12-14 minutes, for medium-rare (depending on thickness).
  4. Let the steaks rest 3 minutes before serving.
Crusted Steaks Ready to Grill
Salt-and-Pepper-Crusted Steaks with Goat-Cheese-and-Herb Potatoes

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