Where did September go? This whole month flew by in a whirl of busyness, work activities, and birthdays. I feel like I hardly cooked anything exciting at all! To make up for this, I threw a little dinner party last night, Southern-style, for my friend Dado who will soon be returning to China. After an ingredient fiasco (I wanted to make fried catfish… turns out, the guest-of-honor is allergic), I decided to make an easy but delicious meal of chicken-fried steak, collards, and cornbread.
I went down to Marlow & Daughters to pick up some top round after work, but since they were out, I went with the cheapest alternative: ground beef. Chicken-fried steak is essentially cucina povera anyway. I whisked an egg and add the meat and some salt and pepper to the same bowl, patting it into flat disks of meat. I then coated each with egg and dredged in flour, then placed each piece into a hot pan full of butter. Each side cooked for about a minute and a half, then I removed them to make the roux, adding a bit of flour, more butter, and water to create a sauce.
I served each person with their fried meat and buttery sauce alongside slow-cooked collard greens, which had stewed for a half hour in salted water and apple cider vinegar, and buttermilk cornbread. Dado had brought a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Oyster Bay, which paired surprisingly well with the food due to its more robust fruit. The sharp, bracing acidity also cut through the rather fatty meal, refreshing our palettes as we ate through it all.
To finish off the meal, I had prepared a roasted banana gelato with a nutella swirl — as decadent and down-home good as everything else we’d eaten. Bon Voyage, Dado!