Bife à Portuguêsa
from Once Upon a Feast
4 large peeled garlic cloves, 2 crushed, 2 cut lengthwise in half
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 beef tenderloin steaks, ¾ “ inch thick (rib eye is another good choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 large bay leaf, crumbled
4-6 thin slices presunto ham, prosciutto or other smoked ham ( thinly sliced back bacon or pancetta are other options)
¼ cup red wine, optional
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon cut into 8 wedges
1. Preheat oven to 250° F.
2. Mash the crushed garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of a spoon. With your fingers, rub the paste into the steaks, pressing firmly into both sides of the meat.
3. In a heavy 10-12 inch skillet (preferably not non-stick), melt the butter in olive oil over moderate heat. When the foam has almost subsided, add the garlic halves and bay leaf and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove and discard the garlic and bay leaf. Add the steaks and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, turning with tongs and regulating the heat to they color quickly and evenly. The steaks should be well-browned, but still pink inside.
4. Transfer the steaks to individual baking dishes or fairly deep plates and keep them warm in the oven. Add the slices of ham to the fat remaining in the skillet and cook over high heat, turning them frequently for 1-2 minutes.
5. With the tongs, place 2 slices of ham on each steak. Pour off all but a thin film of fat from the skillet, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile scrape in any brown particles clinging to the bottom and sides of the pan.
6. Pour the sauce over the steaks, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve at once surrounded by roasted potatoes.
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