I love to cook and bake. But there are two areas where I fail miserably: baking my own bread and preparing any sort of meat that isn’t poultry. It’s a huge leap of faith for me to branch out into the world of filet mignon and swordfish.
“How much money does this woman make?!?” is a question most likely popping into some of your heads after seeing those meat selections. It was certainly a question that Husband #2 muttered after I told him about my dining on black tiger prawns… Oh, yes, I will go face down in a plate for crustaceans.
The reality is that grocery shopping for one is much different than grocery shopping for a family.
Due to visitation schedules and Husband #2’s departure, there are weekends where it’s just me. I found that buying one serving of a high-end meat runs about $6 or less. My swordfish was $4.50. I have a $6 lobster tail in the freezer. And Valentine’s Day sales netted me two filet mignons for the scandalous price of $5 each. Since I don’t have to buy several of these cuts of meat to feed the rest of the family, adding $10 to the monthly grocery bill doesn’t break my bank.
Plus I don’t have Husband #2’s coffee addiction to contend with anymore, so when you look at the big picture, I might even be saving money.
The first part of the dilemma was getting past my feeling of unworthiness… that I didn’t even deserve to spend this amount of money on myself. I have no problem buying something nice for someone else, but when it comes to me, there are voices in my head telling me I don’t deserve it: My mother leads the list and occupies most of the conversation, Husband #2 (who is somewhat of a tightwad) follows up, and then my own internal voice fills in any of the gaps left behind. It is a struggle for me to buy anything for myself that isn’t “on sale”. It could be clothes, make-up, food, furniture, cars, electronics, and travel. Waiting and buying at a discount isn’t a bad thing, but never paying full price is almost like my compulsion.
My filet was on sale, my swordfish was on sale, my prawns were not. Huge step, but like I said, I love me the crustacean!
Bringing home a high end cut of meat was one thing. Cooking it well was the second challenge.
I’ve tried to make juicy steaks before. I’ve tied up tenderloins, oven roasted prime rib, grilled flank steaks, even boiled lobsters… my efforts were less than sterling and items usually ended on one of the two ends of the underdone or overdone continuum. I just couldn’t get it right.
Line me up with a full Thanksgiving Dinner and my turkey and dinner rolls are finished at the same time! Potatoes have no lumps, pies are perfect, gravy is just to die for… I can follow a recipe, I just couldn’t figure out the big cuts of beef.
Cooking on the small scale has made me bolder. If I mess up, I’m no longer dealing with a $30 cut of meat. Now I’m only experimenting with $5 and the loss wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
Last night’s dinner consisted of roasted swordfish with peppercorn butter sauce, mixed spring vegetables, and double chocolate mascarpone truffles for dessert. (Side note: orange zest is not necessary. Go with chopped up almonds if you want to add something.)
The swordfish was super easy to make. I no longer fear the fish!
Here’s the recipe (adapted from Epicurious):
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- On the stovetop, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat
- Add the swordfish and let it fry for 3 minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Flip the swordfish over and place the whole skillet in the oven for 10 minutes
- Remove the swordfish from the skillet
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter, ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, ½ teaspoon of ground peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of parsley and heat on the stovetop until butter is melted and starting to brown
- Pour over the swordfish
The next time I make this, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and season the swordfish with a little bit of Montreal steak seasoning.