© 2005 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved
Serves 3 to 4
Honey is the edge in this recipe. Once cooked, you taste only the barest hint of sweetness, yet honey or sugar opens up all the meat's bold beefiness. Each mouthful delivers fabulous crustiness, and a hum of black pepper.
I've used wine here because alcohol frees up every possible nuance of taste not touched by the honey. If possible, use beef raised on vegetarian feed, ideally grass-fed and organic.
Classic with this would be a wedge of iceberg with homemade bleu cheese dressing and either potato salad, or little new potatoes, foil wrapped and baked in the coals. Pour a fruity Zinfandel.
Combine the wine, honey, garlic and pepper in a shallow dish; add the steak, coating it with the mixture. Let stand at room temperature while you set up the rest of the meal.
Heat the grill, or burn wood charcoal (instead of regular briquettes) until a gray ash forms. You want two piles of coals on either side of an empty center.
Pat steak dry, place over hottest part of grill. Sear quickly on both sides. Move to where there's lower heat and cook, turning often, 10 minutes, or until steak reaches an internal temperature of 125° to 130° (for medium rare). Remove to a platter and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. The steak finishes cooking, collects itself and is much juicier for the wait. Serve steaks whole or sliced.
Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.