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Jan 24, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Prasino’

In This Issue: The Ultimate Pork Steak

Sunday, May 25th, 2014



There’s nothing like a St. Louis pork steak. No, really – try asking for it in other parts of the U.S., and you’ll baffle butchers who will likely point you toward a pork chop. But this Gateway City classic is not a chop; it’s a center cut of the shoulder, most commonly used for pulled pork. “They’re totally Midwest,” said Steven Weinmann, vice president of Kenrick’s Meats & Catering. “We actually ship pork steaks to different parts of the country.”

Yet, for every expat willing to fly in her beloved pork steak, there’s another St. Louisan who remembers gnawing on overcooked shoe leather that no amount of barbecue sauce could salvage. The key to juicy pork steak lies in the technique; just because it’s called steak doesn’t mean you should treat it like a sirloin. In fact, Jim LeGrand, co-owner of LeGrand’s Market & Catering, suggested thinking of it like beef shoulder, which you use for your favorite roasts. “This is the pot roast cut of a pig,” he said, explaining how this economical piece of meat must be rendered tender with low heat and patience.

Lucky for you, we put in the hours and combined our favorite flavors and techniques from local chefs and butchers to bring you the ultimate pork steak, so your future memories will be nothing but succulent.

The Meat
The cut: Look for bone-in, center-cut steaks with visible marbling throughout the meat. Avoid pieces with a heavy fat collar around the outside, LeGrand advised, or have your butcher trim the excess.

The thickness: Never buy a cut thinner than ¾ inch. Since this cut is so inexpensive, you can afford to ride high on the hog. For truly tender meat, we picked up a 1½-inch steak.

The Rub
Pork steak has a long history of being a quick cut to grill, but if you really want a tender, flavorful powerhouse, you need to dry rub the meat, and let it soak up all that extra flavor. We’re in love with the sweet smoke of this simple, classic barbecue rub that Prasino’s executive chef Tony Marchetto uses on his mammoth pork steak.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup brown sugar, ½ tablespoon each of whole pink, black and white peppercorns, ¾ tablespoon smoked paprika, ½ tablespoon granulated garlic and ¼ tablespoon ground mustard. Use your hands to coat the pork steak with the rub, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped steak in a large zip-top bag and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. Before grilling, unwrap the meat and let it come to room temperature. Is your pork steak as red as rib-eye? You did it right.

The Sauce
We adapted Marchetto’s house-made Fitz’s barbecue sauce to add a touch more smoke and spice.

1 poblano pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
½ Tbsp. smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups Dr. Pepper
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup

• Char the poblano pepper over an open flame (ideally over applewood chips while you prepare your grill for the meat), until it is blackened all over. Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam 10 minutes. When cool to the touch, peel the charred skin from the pepper, and then seed, stem and dice it. Set aside.
• In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium. Saute the shallots and poblano until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper and saute 1 minute, or until the vegetable mixture is very soft and bright red.
• To the pot, add the Dr. Pepper and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, until reduced by about one-third. Whisk in the ketchup and simmer another 5 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup of sauce to cook with the pork steak.
• Strain the remaining sauce into a small sauce pot using a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the shallots and pepper, and return the sauce to the stove over medium-low heat. Continue to reduce until it achieves desired consistency. Set aside until the pork steak is cooked.

Making your own barbecue sauce is admirable, but if you’re short on time, there’s no shame in reaching for your favorite bottle. We’re partial to Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce, which is cheap, widely available and just plain delicious.

The Method
There are two general practices when it comes to cooking pork steaks: grilling or braising. But for a foolproof combination of smoky, soft meat swimming in sauce, the pros recommended both.

Soak a generous handful of applewood chips in water. Prepare a charcoal grill for low, indirect heat. Drain the wood chips and add to the coals. Once the chips begin to smoke, add the room temperature, dry-rubbed pork steak and cover. Smoke it for 1 hour, flipping halfway through.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil in a baking dish with foil hanging over the sides for wrapping. Add the pork steak and the ¾ cup unstrained barbecue sauce to the center of the foil. Fold up the foil to create a packet. Place the baking dish in the oven, and bake 1 hour, until the meat is tender. Let the pork steak rest 5 minutes and then slather it in barbecue sauce with reckless abandon.

-photos by Carmen Troesser

31 Days of Salad: Prasino’s Lobster Avocado

Sunday, January 12th, 2014



The Lobster Avocado at Prasino is amazing. Dressed arugula supports half an avocado that’s piled high with fresh, sweet, chilled lobster. The decadent salad (There’s arugula; it counts.) is finished with chili beurre blanc and a touch of sweet-hot mango salsa. This is rich and filling, but it won’t weigh you down.



This week, Meera Nagarajan is obsessed with…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013



{My friend put me onto this easy recipe, and now whenever I crave a brownie, I make it in a mug for one. Combine 1 tablespoon each all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, water and vegetable oil in a mug. Add a small pinch of salt and a tiny splash of vanilla and whisk together. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and top with a little vanilla ice cream.}




{The omelets at Half & Half are my go-to breakfast order there. After I’ve finished, I’m not hungry the rest of the day. I get the version with beans, cheddar, avocado and pico de gallo, and I’m never disappointed.  



{Last week, I ordered the Lobster Avocado small plate at Prasino in St. Charles, and it was amazing. Half an avocado gets piled high with lobster and finished with chili beurre blanc and mango salsa. The lobster is sweet and fresh, and the dish is rich without weighing you down.}

-Brownie photo courtesy of kirbiecravings.com



In This Issue: New and Notable – Prasino

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

At Prasino, the new mini-chain restaurant in St. Charles, the employees say PRÄH-suh-no. The translation app on my phone says PRÄH-see-no. Tomato or tomahto, prasino is Greek for “green,” as in “environmentally sound.” The St. Charles spot is one of four locations for the 4-year-old family of restaurants self-billed as eco-friendly. It’s also the chain’s first foray outside of Chicagoland.

Prasino’s business plan is driven by eco-friendly kitchen practices, energy and water-saving appliances, and as many locally sourced raw ingredients as possible. Your server will spend a good two minutes explaining just how environmentally conscious Prasino is, to the point that you’ll look around for the Greenpeace seal of approval.

To read what reviewer Michael Renner thought of this new St. Charles restaurants, click here.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman



This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with…

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

{Skirt Steak is a book about female chefs, but rather than ask why so many “gals of the galley” leave the culinary profession (Duh, motherhood is a deal-breaker.), author Charlotte Druckman takes a fresh approach to gender studies and investigates how some women have charted successful careers as chefs. Interviews with Gabrielle Hamilton, Stephanie Izard, Anita Lo and 70 other distinguished women chefs shed light on how they’ve withstood heat in the kitchen and remained on their feet.}

{Fizzy with the tart-sweet flavor of mandarin juice, the zest of Seville oranges and a zing of ginger, Fentimans Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger is akin to a nonalcoholic mimosa. I’m happy to be a teetotaler if I can have a bottle of this fermented soda every day – or at the very least for Sunday brunch.}

{A spoonful of the mango sorbet at Prasino takes me back nearly two decades to my honeymoon in Puerto Rico, where I had my first bite of truly ripe mango. The juices dribbled down my chin and made my clothes sticky-wet, but who cared because the taste was heavenly. The texture of this house-made sorbet is so smooth, the mango flavor so intense and unadulterated. Oh, newlywed bliss! And I can relive it simply by exiting I-70 at Fifth Street in St. Charles.}



The Scoop: “Green” restaurant Prasino opens in St. Charles

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

St. Charles welcomes yet another restaurant. Prasino opened its doors yesterday at 1520 S. Fifth St., next to recently opened churrascaria chain Tucanos Brazilian Grill. Prasino, which means “green” in Greek, is based on a concept of sustainable dining, which encompasses local sourcing, green design and eco-friendly kitchen practices. This is the fourth Prasino location; the others are all located in Illinois, including Chicago, La Grange and Rosemont.

The restaurant offers a contemporary, farm-to-table American menu created by the company’s executive chef Jared Case. However, Case explained that Tony Marchetto, executive chef at the St. Charles location, will have many opportunities to put his own mark on the menu. For instance, today’s soup special of ginger sweet potato with a five-spice scented pork dumpling (pictured) is Marchetto’s brainchild. Marchetto hails from BC’s Kitchen; prior to that, he worked in the kitchen at sister restaurant Cardwell’s at the Plaza.

Although the menu is similar to menus at other Prasino locations, local ingredients as well as St. Louis’ own food culture will lend elements of distinction to the fare. The barbecued pork steak with a sauce prepared using Fitz’s root beer is one example of a dish unique to the St. Charles location. Prasino will pay homage to this town’s love affair with toasted ravioli when it begins to offer oversize, baked house-made T-ravs; and a waffle cone with house-made ice cream (pictured) recognizes St. Louis’ claim to fame as the birthplace of the ice cream cone. Gooey butter cake? Already on the menu.

Among the sustainable design features in the 280-seat interior (with alfresco seating for an additional 100) are: seats made from recycled seatbelts, wood reclaimed from a warehouse in Missouri, lighting fixtures made from recycled cardboard and reclaimed cement blocks used to outfit the bar.

Case added that Prasino looks for opportunities to reduce the environmental footprint of its kitchen with energy- and water-saving appliances and bio-diesel recycling of spent oil. Prasino also uses eco-friendly cleaning materials.

This week, doors at the restaurant open at 11 a.m. Beginning April 30, Prasino will commence its regular hours of operation, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night.

The Scoop: Westward, ho! New restaurants opening in Chesterfield, Ellisville, St. Charles, Town and Country

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Windowsills Cafe & Market is readying to open in Ellisville at 1326 Clarkson Clayton Center, next to Dierberg’s. The counter-service cafe will feature smoked foods, house-made sides, pies and Belgian waffles, while the marketplace will carry locally prepared sauces and jams and other specialty food items. The cafe-market, which The Scoop reported on last August, is the newest project by Jeff Allee, owner of Wildwood Pub & Grill. An employee at the pub stated that Windowsills is expected to open sometime this week.

The Press Box in Chesterfield is being reconceptualized as Scarecrow. Besides a new name, the space at 1095 Chesterfield Parkway will see a facelift and a new menu that will transform it from sports bar to upscale-casual restaurant by mid-January, as reported by Feast.

In addition, Chicago-based Prasino is opening a location in St. Charles. Prasino, which is the Greek word for “green,” is built on a concept of sustainability – from the locally sourced ingredients for the food (pictured) to the eco-friendly processes put in place in the kitchen. The restaurant will be located at 1520 S. Fifth St., with an anticipated opening of March, reports Feast.

Finally, while the calendar just flipped to 2013, diners thinking ahead to next year can look forward to the arrival of Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant in Town and Country. Cooper’s Hawk will be located at 1000-1272 Town and Country Crossing Drive at the intersection of Clayton and Woods Mill Roads, as reported by Evan Binns of the St. Louis Business Journal and the Post-Dispatch’s Evan Benn. The Cooper’s Hawk concept includes an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room and retail gift store. The restaurant chain currently has 11 locations spread across five states, with expansion plans for four additional locations, including the St. Louis site.

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