Make Sun-Dried Tomato Butter for a Summery Steak Any Time of Year

TIMEDecember 17, 2021

No matter what time of year it is, I am always up for a grilled steak. If it’s too cold outdoors, you can use a seasoned iron skillet on high heat for a successful result.

For years, I’ve used seasoned compound butters to add loads of flavor to many dishes. What is a compound butter? It’s merely a mixture of butter and other ingredients.

Here, I’ve adapted a recipe from Discover California that enhances a simple steak with a garlicky, sun-dried tomato compound butter. You can make the butter a few days ahead and freeze it until you are ready to use it. Make sure to defrost it to chilled before using.

The robust tomato-garlic notes are equally enjoyable on grilled chicken, fish, vegetables, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and soft corn polenta. A simple arugula salad makes a colorful and tasty accompaniment. To drink? A full-bodied merlot or malbec would be a lovely complement to the meat.

A Few Tips for Choosing Your Steak

Choose your meat from a known purveyor. If you feel like you want to splurge, go for USDA Prime beef. Otherwise, choose the best quality USDA Choice steak. Remember that the higher the ratio of marbling and the younger the beef, the higher the grade of meat.

If you want aged beef, there is wet- and dry-aged beef. Wet-aged beef is lighter and extremely tender and has a grassy flavor, while dry-aged beef is richer and has almost an earthy mushroom flavor.

Selecting your cut of steak is a personal choice. My preference is a rib-eye because it usually has good marbling, which creates a juicy steak. Certainly, sirloin or New York steaks are delicious as well. Grill the steaks until just medium rare; further cooking will toughen the meat.

Grilled Steak With Sun-Dried Tomato Compound Butter

Serves 4

  • 4 boneless steaks, rib-eye, sirloin or New York, 10 to 12 ounces each
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and ends removed
  • 1/2 cup marinated in oil sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Extra sun-dried tomato pieces, for garnish
  • Fresh basil sprigs, optional for garnish

Season steaks all over with salt with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on a rack set over a plate or tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 to 12 hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

In a small food processor, mince the garlic until pureed. Add the tomatoes, butter, smoked paprika, and salt and puree until smooth.

Scoop the butter out of the bowl into the center of a 12-inch piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Roll up the plastic wrap, pressing the butter into a log shape. Twist the ends to close. Place in freezer for 4 hours or the refrigerator for at least 6 hours until firm. If frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge until well-chilled.

Prepare a grill or a grill plate on the stove for medium-high grilling. Grill to desired doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a platter.

Unroll the wax paper and slice the butter into 3/4-inch pieces. Top each steak with a few slices. Scatter a few sun-dried tomato pieces on top and garnish with and an optional basil sprig. Serve immediately.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at Copyright 2021 Diane Rossen Worthington. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.