On my last China trip, I again had these wonderful cumin scented lamb ribs they serve in Hunan and Sichuan restaurants (in Shanghai at least). Plus I brought back (or smuggled in) a bag of best grade Sichuan peppercorns - which I learned to distinguish in one of my food classes in China - you only want the hull, the more of the seeds are in there the cheaper the product, because they are gritty and don't add taste.
Yesterday was when I finally put it together. Our first CSA share of this year's quarter cow had beautiful steaks in it, and I had read a few months back that steaks get crispier when you salt them about an hour before you are about to make them. The salt will pull the water out of a thin layer on the outside of the meat (don't do it too long, or you'll get dry steaks..). Just before you're about to put them on the BBQ dry them off, then season them. It results in a very nice dry outside, and, when timed right, in a beautiful juicy pink interior. I had tried that before with great results, but was a bit timid on the seasonings. Not this time, though.
For the seasoning I crushed cumin and Sichuan peppercorns, about 1/2 tsp each, and I added some fresh ground black pepper for good measure. This was for 1 smallish NY strip steak - but I guess you can adjust it for your taste. I love both cumin and Sichuan pepper, so ours was pretty strongly flavored.
We also made some veggies, on a griddle plate on the BBQ, great way to use the heat of the BBQ while it's warming up for the steak.
The veggies were some zucchini, a passilla pepper and an onion, dusted with some more of the cumin - Sichuan mixture, along with some salt, and some olive oil for frying.
Veggies and steak both came out great:
Sorry for the bad quality of the steak photo, but we were hungry and we didn't want to waste time on making it the perfect shot. For those of you who haven't tasted them yet: The Sichuan peppers have a very nice citrus taste, and they numb your taste buds. Not terribly, at least unless you throw lots of them in your food, just a little bit for a slightly strange and tingling sensation. We had a big, jammy Zinfandel (red of course) with it, and it seemed to taste even jammier with the peppers, perhaps because the numbed tongue took the acid out.
A little salad on the side, boring hearts of romaine jazzed up with sunflower sprouts and tomato, dressed with a miso sesame dressing that I got from Japan, from a friend who lives there and shares our love of food and drinks (Thanks Jeff!)
A perfect end for a perfect weekend. Ok, perfect except for the poison oak I got while trying to wrestle the blackberry bushes out of what we call yard.