Here’s a fantastic appetizer you can make on a Friday night, or next time you have special guests over. Because these steak bites are something really special – cooked to a medium-rare perfection, they melt in your mouth, dripping with blue cheese butter, and crunchy smoked pepitas.
Although I’m never particularly excited about steak in general, and this is the last thing I’ll order at a restaurant, the first time I made these, I couldn’t stop raving about them. They had a nice caramelized peppery crust, juicy and super tender inside, and big flavor from the salty buttery blue cheese, and smokey crispy pepitas. I kept stealing bite after bite before plating them for the family. They were a huge hit among all, including the kids.
I thoroughly dipped the steak cubes in black pepper and ground allspice mix on all sides. This gives them a nice spicy crust. For the blue cheese butter, I mixed creamy Gorgonzola cheese with butter, and the crunchy topping is simply a handful of roasted pepitas, roughly chopped with a few pinches of smoked paprika and salt.
Here are a few tips to make these a success:
- Let the meat come to a room temperature
- Buy a good quality steak meat, nicely marbled, 1 inch thick – I used New York strip.
- Heat your skillet really well but not till it starts to smoke. Best done with a cast iron or stainless steel skillet.
- Do not overcook as you will end up with chewy meat. I cooked each 1 inch steak cube for 30 seconds on each side (for a total of 3 minutes). This is about medium-rare to medium (the inside temperature should read 130-135°F).
- Work in batches – you don’t want the pieces to touch and create steam.
- Have your blue cheese butter ready, and once you remove the steak bites from the pan, immediately place a small knob of butter on top, so it melts from the heat.
If you are still wondering what present to give your dads for Father’s day this weekend, I suggest you make these steak bites for him. You know the old saying – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? That’s what I’m talking about.
Enjoy with a glass of good Cabernet!
- 1 lbs New York strip steak, 1 inch thick
- 2 Tbs black pepper
- 2 Tbs ground allspice
- 2 Tbs salt
- 4 Tbs Gorgonzolla cheese or other creamy blue cheese
- 2 Tbs butter
- ¼ cup roasted salted pepitas
- a pinch of smoked paprika
- Remove the side fat strip from the steak, and cut into 1 inch cubes, then salt liberally. Let the steak come to room temperature.
- Grind the pepitas in a mortar and pestle, or chop roughly with a knife. Add a pinch of smoked paprika, and salt.
- Mix the black pepper and allspice in a shallow dish.
- Dip each steak cub in the black pepper spice rub and press down to cover it thoroughly on all sides.
- Mix blue cheese and butter, and leave in the fridge until you prepare the steak bites.
- Heat a cast iron or other skillet for about 1-2 minutes, add 1-2 Tbs of oil.
- Working in batches, place a few steak cubes - they should start sizzle loudly (if not, the pan is not too hot). Flip the cubes to a different side, every 30 seconds to sear on all 6 sides, for a total cooking time of 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and place a knob of blue cheese butter on top of each. Sprinkle with the pepita topping.