Monday, December 29, 2008

The Butcher Man

Many years ago, I spent a day in Cuidad Victoria, Mexico, in the passenger seat of a car being driven by a young man determined to find the butcher man. We were visiting the in-laws by marriage of my friend, and the driver was her sister-in-law's brother's younger brother, with whom we had hooked up. There were four of us in the car: me, the driver, and two other friends who had also come down from Austin with us. We couldn't figure out why this young man was so determined to find this butcher, or what he was going to do once he found him. It wasn't until the day was almost over that we realized our young friend was not looking for a butcher. He was, in fact, looking for the pusher man, and I know I was not the only one who was somewhat relieved that we did not find him.

I was reminded of this incident the other day when I was talking to my butcher (not to be confused with my pusher). (Not that I have a pusher.) (I don't.) They had the most beautiful top sirloin on sale at the Apple Market. Not having cooked that much steak in my life, I asked him the best way to prepare it. He said to season it and throw it under the broiler for about four minutes per side. I asked him if I needed to marinate it. He said I could, maybe some garlic and olive oil.

And then he got an odd look on his face. His eyes kind of turned down and to the side. He whispered out of the side of his mouth, "I've got some olive oil, garlic and rosemary marinade in here (pointing to the side of the cooler where they keep the deli meats). Do you want some?"

"Sure," I said. "That would be great." He grabbed a container and spooned in a heap of glop. He brought it over and showed it to me.

Being cold, the olive oil had congealed and it looked most unattractive, as you can see. But it smelled heavenly. "Take out what you're going to use and let it come to room temperature," he said. "When are you going to cook it? Tomorrow? Put the steak in a bag with this and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, then broil it up."

He charged me a nominal amount for the glop and I gleefully took it home. And I kept chuckling all the way, thinking of the look on his face when he offered me the marinade. And that's when I remembered that long ago trip to Mexico when we rode around looking for the "butcher man."

At last I found him. He's pushing marinade. Hey little girl, want some olive oil, a little garlic? It's even better with some rosemary laced in. The first batch is free. Go ahead, try some. Just a little won't hurt you!

I left some out so the olive oil could melt, then put it in a resealable bag with the steak. I left it in the refrigerator overnight, and then I took it out of the marinade. I almost forgot to season the meat with salt and pepper before putting it under the broiler, but luckily I remembered in time.

I put it under the broiler for about four minutes per side. As you can see up top, it came out beautifully medium rare. It was delicious, like I knew it would be. Already I'm craving more. Damn that butcher man. I need another fix!

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