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, March 3, 2014

Grilled Strip Steaks with Port Wine Sauce

Even if you don’t like port wine as a drink (I know I don’t), you can’t help but love its magical knack for turning into one deliciously rich, silky sauce for red meat. Not all ports are sickeningly sweet, and you can re-cork (or re-cap) the bottle tightly to save for future sauces—or desserts, if you’re into those.

Freshly ground black pepper and steaks were made for each other. Choose a coarse grind so that bits of pepper fleck the meat before and after grilling. Some folks say that pepper applied before cooking will burn and give the meat a bad taste. I’ve simply never experienced that.

To me, pepper and a little salt enhance the natural flavor of the beef. Usually, that’s all I dress a steak with—practically naked. But this little port wine sauce is an occasional rich and tasty addition. (And don’t skip the balsamic vinegar at the end—it gives the sauce a flavor-enhancing finish.)

Serves 2


2 8-oz bone-in New York strip steaks, about 1-inch thick
olive oil, for rubbing
coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp grainy mustard
1/2 cup port wine
1/3 cup beef broth
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt

Bone-In Strip Steaks
  1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Rub the steaks with olive oil, then rub with coarsely ground black pepper. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
Pepper-Crusted Steaks
  1. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the shallot and mustard and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the port and broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer, then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer slowly until reduced to about 1/2 cup, 7-8 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Re-warm gently over low heat just before serving.
Shallot and Mustard in Butter
Sauce Beginning to Cook 
Port Wine Sauce
  1. Rub the grill rack with olive oil. Season the steaks with salt and grill until lightly charred with grill marks but still pink in the middle, 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from the grill and let rest 3 minutes.
Steaks Beginning to Grill
Grilled Steaks
Plate the steaks and spoon port wine sauce on top.

Pepper-Grilled Strip Steaks with Port Wine Sauce

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