VOTE: A Next Iron Chef Strip Steak Showdown — Rival Recipes

Last Sunday night, the first part of the Next Iron Chef rivals' road to redemption came to an end when they moved from their home base of sunny Los Angeles to Las Vegas to begin the second half of the competition. For Chef Nate Appleman, this transition proved to be a moment of mini redemption, as in Season 2 he was sent home just one episode prior to the chefs traveling to Tokyo, while for others the change of scenery was nothing remarkable, just another city in which to cook. "Regardless of the setting, I'll do what is good food and what is my style," Chef Jehangir Mehta said.

This week's installment of Rival Recipes celebrates this shift in the season with a play on one part of Sin City in particular: the Strip. In Las Vegas, the Strip is known to be a bustling, tourist-heavy area packed with hotels, casinos and entertainment venues of all kinds. But in the culinary world, the strip is understood to be a marbled slab of beef that is deliciously tender and juicy. Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Tim Love, two rivals who didn't make the cut to travel to Vegas, have brought their best beef to the battle and are prepared to face off in a strip steak showdown with a New York in Cast Iron and New York Strip Steak With Serrano Lime Butter, respectively.

While Chef Falkner's simplistic preparation of strip steak calls for everyday ingredients like garlic and rosemary, Chef Love's southwestern-inspired recipe is a bit more complex, boasting a finishing touch of spicy butter with zesty lime. Both chefs note that strip steaks should be topped with olive oil and a blanket of salt and pepper before they're cooked, although Chef Falkner's beef can be made entirely indoors in a classic cast-iron skillet and Chef Love's comes together after a double-cooking process on the grill and in the oven.

When it comes to juicy steaks, fans, how do you like these meaty main dishes? Are you looking for a simplistic preparation like Chef Falkner's, or do you prefer Chef Love's creative take on a traditional favorite? Would you prefer the subtle taste of herbs atop your beef or the punch of heat from the serrano chile-laced butter? Vote for the winner below, and be sure to tune in Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out which rivals survive to cook another day.

See below for detailed recipes from both chefs and to purchase Chef Falkner’s cookbook.

New York in Cast Iron
Serves 2

8-ounce New York strip steak, about 1 inch thick (see Note, following)

2 tablespoons olive oil
Sprig of rosemary
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Drizzle the steak with the olive oil and scatter the rosemary and garlic slices on the steak. Season with salt and pepper and rub all over. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the steak and decrease the heat to medium. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice the meat and divide between 2 plates.

Note: I prefer to cook the whole 8-ounce steak, let it rest, and then slice it for 2 servings. But you can also cut the steak in half down the middle before you cook it and serve two 4-ounce portions.

Recipe courtesy Elizabeth Falkner, Cooking Off the Clock: Recipes From My Downtime

New York Strip Steak With Serrano Lime Butter
4 dry-aged, prime, 14-ounce New York strip steaks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
Coarse salt
Cracked black pepper

Brush oil on room-temperature steaks.

Season very liberally with salt and pepper.

Place steaks on a hot grill.

All red meat can be cooked by thickness. From 1/2-inch to 2-inch cuts there is a true formula.

All red meat should be seared at a minimum of 400 degrees F for a minute and a half each side and then roasted on the cooler side of the grill or placed in the oven for 1 minute per 1/4 inch.

The meat should then be placed off the heat to rest for at least 10 minutes.

The meat should then be returned to the oven or roasting side of the grill to get hot and served immediately.

This method is for a solid medium-rare.

Serrano Lime Butter
1/2 pound unsalted butter
2 serrano chilies, roasted
3 cloves garlic, roasted
3 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons salt

Puree roasted chilies, garlic and lime juice in a food processor.

In a mixer, whip the butter until soft.

Add the chile mixture and salt, and whip for 3 minutes.

Freeze, or place a portion on top of the steak.

Recipe courtesy Tim Love,
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