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Steak and Red Wine for Labor Day

The holiday weekend calls for tasty marinated steak paired with 14 value-priced reds

Laurie Woolever
Posted: August 28, 2009

Labor Day weekend, the traditional (though not official) last weekend of summer, is almost upon us—time for one last great cookout. We asked chef John Schenk for a grilling recipe that provides exciting flavor witout compromising red wine, and he shared his recipe for lime-garlic marinated sirloin steak.

Schenk is the executive chef of Strip House, a steakhouse concept that was first executed in New York City and now includes outposts in Las Vegas, Houston, New Jersey and Florida. He began cooking at The Library in his hometown of Buffalo, N.Y., more than 25 years ago, then spent time in San Francisco's Hayes Street Grill, Gotham Bar and Grill, West Broadway, mad.61 and Clementine in New York, and Nectar at the Bellagio in Las Vegas before signing on with Strip House in 2004.

In this recipe, Schenk simmers the marinade ingredients before applying them to the steak, in order to cut the sharpness of the raw garlic and lime juice. "It's a great way add flavor to whatever you're cooking, whether it's steak, chicken, pork or shellfish," says Schenk, adding, "You could even stir in some mayonnaise to make a dipping sauce." Bear in mind, however, that to maintain good food hygiene in your kitchen and avoid cross-contamination, you should not re-use marinade that has been in contact with raw meat—make a fresh batch if you plan to use it as a sauce.

As for wine pairings, Jono Moratis, beverage director for the Glazier Group, which owns Strip House, says that while Cabernet Sauvignon is the automatic choice many people make when deciding what to pour with steak, he thinks that the flavors in the marinade and the char and smokiness imparted by grilling would also do well with Malbec, Merlot or Syrah.

Lime-Garlic Marinated Sirloin Steak

Recipe courtesy of chef John Schenk of Strip House

• 10 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
• 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes' worth)
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
• 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
• 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
• 1 2-pound sirloin steak

1. Combine the garlic and 1/2 cup oil in a sauté pan and bring to a simmer. Gently cook for about 4 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic brown. Add the red pepper flakes and remove from the pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for 1 minute, then add the lime juice and bring back to a simmer. Once a simmer is reached, remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents into a wide, shallow bowl to cool. Once the mixture is cool, stir in the coriander, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper. Combine the steak and the cooled marinade in a zip-sealed bag large enough to hold the meat flat. Marinate in refrigerator for at least for one hour but no more than four hours, turning the bag every 30 minutes or so.

2. Preheat the grill to high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard any solids that may be clinging to the meat and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Use clean hands or a brush to lightly oil the meat, then season it with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill it over high heat for 3 minutes or until charred, then turn with tongs and grill the other side, 3 minutes for medium-rare, 5 minutes for medium, 7 minutes for well-done. Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Serves 4.


BODEGA RENACER Malbec Mendoza Punto Final Reserva 2006 Score: 91 | $20
A dark, tarry style, with crushed plum, fig and hoisin sauce flavors backed by an invigorating licorice snap note on the ripe, muscular finish. Powerful but driven, this brings you back for more. Drink now through 2012. 10,000 cases made. —J.M.

AVE Malbec Mendoza Premium 2007 Score: 90 | $15
Deliciously vibrant, with mouthwatering acidity running through the dark plum, violet, pastis and licorice snap notes, which stay tangy and pure on the nicely driven finish. Drink now through 2010. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 8,000 cases made. —J.M.

FINCA & BODEGA CARLOS PULENTA Malbec Mendoza Tomero 2007 Score: 89 | $15
Very juicy, offering crushed blackberry and boysenberry notes backed by Christmas pudding and black tea hints, with a licorice snap-filled finish. Drink now through 2010. 12,000 cases made. —J.M.

BODEGA RENACER Malbec Mendoza Punto Final 2008 Score: 88 | $12
A forward, juicy style, with blackberry and licorice notes that stay lively on the medium-weight finish. Drink now. 50,000 cases made. —J.M.


SOUVERAIN Merlot Alexander Valley 2006 Score: 88 | $19
Sleek and well-structured, with red currant and spice aromas and appealing black cherry, toasty sage and espresso flavors. The tannins firm up the finish. Drink now through 2014. 19,000 cases made. —T.F.

MONTGRAS Merlot Colchagua Valley Reserva 2007 Score: 88 | $12
Ripe, pure and focused, with a delicious beam of raspberry ganache framed nicely by integrated vanilla and spice-infused toast. The long, fleshy finish has nice drive. Drink now through 2010. 50,000 cases made. —J.M.

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Merlot Columbia Valley 2005 Score: 88 | $16
Firm in texture, with ripe currant and berry shaded by smoke, coffee and spice nuances as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2012. 160,000 cases made. —H.S.

COLUMBIA CREST Merlot Columbia Valley Grand Estates 2006 Score: 88 | $11
Supple and generous and appealing for its ripe cherry and herb flavors, persisting well. Hints at dill as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2011. 280,000 cases made. —H.S.

SNOQUALMIE Merlot Columbia Valley 2006 Score: 87 | $10
Lithe and velvety, with espresso overtones to flavors of cherry and black olive, finishing with fine tannins. Drink now through 2012. 18,000 cases made. —H.S.


VIÑA MONTES Syrah Colchagua Valley Alpha Apalta Vineyard 2007 Score: 90 | $24
Alluring, with roasted coffee and vanilla bean notes giving way to a supple, rich palate of dark cherry, mulled currant and blackberry fruit, all pushed by a nicely integrated, loam- and grilled herb-tinged finish. Drink now through 2010. 48,000 cases mad —J.M.

HENRY LAGARDE Syrah Mendoza Reserva 2007 Score: 89 | $15
Juicy, with ample toast laid over dark plum, blackberry and licorice notes. The finish is toasty, but this will have some fans for sure. Drink now. 5,000 cases made. —J.M.

CLINE Syrah Sonoma Coast Cool Climate 2006 Score: 88 | $9
Marked by exotic spices, pepper and nutmeg, this is full-bodied, supple and elegant, finishing with ripe, fine-grained tannins that return to grapey berry flavors. Drink now through 2014. 6,595 cases made. —J.L.

TRIVENTO Syrah Mendoza Select 2007 Score: 87 | $11
Plump, with mocha, fruitcake and crushed plum flavors backed by a full-bodied, fleshy finish. A crowd-pleasing style. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —J.M.

DOMAINE DES OULEB THALEB Syrah Zenata Syrocco 2007 Score: 86 | $18
Plump and forward, with tasty blackberry and black cherry notes woven nicely with tobacco and herb hints. Open-knit finish. Drink now. 8,750 cases made. —J.M.

Michael Zari
Fair Oaks, CA —  September 3, 2009 1:39pm ET
Toasted fennel seed crushed and crusted is a far better spice for steak, cut the lime by 1/2, add a little red wine (1/4 cup), tablespoon of honey or agave sweetener, lose the cumin and the cilantro!

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