Mother’s Day breakfast is an American tradition, but we Dads love at hot meal in the morning too! Real men do eat quiche, but steak and eggs is a manly classic that this Dad would love to eat on Father’s Day. This version takes this dish a bit beyond diner fare: I like to use good New York strip steak, cook it to medium-rare perfection and dress it with a rosemary-infused olive oil you can quickly make yourself. Fruit is a nice complement to this rich meal, but I’ve also upgraded the fussy traditional chopped fruit salad with something that’s simpler and, I think, more appealing.
I’ve also got some cooking tips to help you pull this off without a hassle. We start the steak on the stovetop to get a nice brown crust, but finish it in the oven for easier control over the temperature and to avoid setting off the smoke alarm (Happy Father’s Day!). Fried eggs can be temperamental, but I’ve got a trick that lets you turn out perfect eggs nearly every time. And to get everything on the table hot at the same time, just follow this sequence in the instructions: fruit, oil, meat, eggs and toast. And most importantly, if you break a yolk or the toast is cold, just remember that when you cook for the ones you love, it isn’t really about the food.
For the steak and eggs:
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
About 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of New York strip steak or boneless ribeye
4-8 eggs (depending on appetite)
kosher salt or medium grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
sourdough bread for toast
For the fruit salad:
1 ripe cantaloupe
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries or strawberries (halved)
Equipment: 1 oven-proof skillet, 1 non-stick skillet with a lid, strainer, instant-read thermometer
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Take the steaks out of the fridge, unwrap them, and let them sit for 30-60 minutes before you plan to cook them to take the chill off of the meat.
For the fruit “salad”:
2. Cut the cantaloupe into sixths (or quarters if it’s small) and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Run a paring knife between the rind and the flesh of each piece and then cut each wedge crosswise into bite-sized pieces. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over each and sprinkle on a pinch of salt. (This really enhances the flavor of the melon.)
3. Plate your melon slices and strew a handful of each of the berries over each piece.
4. Make your mint chiffonade. For each serving, stack about 5 mint leaves on a cutting board and then roll them up side-to-side. Cut your little mint cigar into narrow slices and then sprinkle the mint ribbons over each serving. Remind yourself to use the word chiffonade in a sentence at breakfast (not really –people will probably find this irritating).
For the steak and eggs:
5. To make the rosemary oil, strip the leaves off two sprigs of rosemary. Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for about a minute and then add the leaves. They should sizzle gently. Fry them until the sizzling dies down and their strong aroma mellows, about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Strain the hot oil into a small bowl and set the leaves aside until the oil is cool enough to touch, and then add the fried leaves back to the oil. (This extra step is necessary to avoid burning the leaves.)
6. Sprinkle each steak with a generous teaspoon of kosher or medium grain sea salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. This may seem like a lot of salt, but a salty crust on the steak is delicious with eggs.
7. Heat a skillet over high heat for about a minute and then add about a teaspoon of olive oil. Put the seasoned steak in the pan and cook it until it forms a nice brown crust. There’s no need to smoke up the kitchen –this should only take 1-2 minutes on each side. (It will still be raw inside.)
8. Transfer the skillet to the oven. For a medium-rare steak, cook the meat until an instant-read thermometer reads about 125F and then take it out of the oven and let it rest on a cutting board. (Its internal temperature will rise 5-10 degrees as it rests.) This will take just a few minutes –exactly how long is hard to predict since it will depend on things like the thickness of the steak and its temperature when you started cooking it, so test it every couple of minutes to avoid overcooking. If your Dad likes his beef medium to well-done, wait until its temperature is 135F before you pull it out of the oven.
9. While the steak is resting, fry the eggs. I used to destroy a lot of fried eggs –crispy edges, runny whites, broken yolks, and other casualties– but this method is almost foolproof. Warm a nonstick skillet (for which you have a lid) over medium heat for about a minute and then add about a tablespoon of the rosemary oil per egg. Warm for another minute.
10. Break each egg into a small bowl and then gently pour it from the bowl into the hot pan. (This gives you a lot more control than breaking the egg right into the skillet.) You can push runaway whites into shape with a spatula before they set. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper or red pepper flakes if Dad likes a little heat. Start toasting the bread.
11. As soon as the white starts to set, add about a tablespoon of water to the pan and cover it tightly with the lid. The steam it produces will help cook the egg evenly. Cook the egg, covered, until the white is completely set and the yolk is the consistency you like. Remove to a warm plate for sunny-side-up or flip for over-easy.
12. When you’re ready to serve, slice the steak diagonally into about 1/2-inch slices. (Cover the sliced steak with foil if you’ve got more eggs to fry.) Place 3 or 4 slices alongside the egg, spoon about a tablespoon of rosemary oil over the meat and top with a few of the fried rosemary leaves. Add a slice of buttered toast, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Photos: Gabriela Solomon