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Simple Sauces for Steaks

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/6/2013 12:00 PM   :  23 comments   :  73,944 Views

Have you ever noticed how, at restaurants, even lean cuts of steak come to the table glistening?  Then, with the first bite, they taste so rich--and they're never dry! No matter what you do, you just can't figure it out. Is it the professional stove that does it? A wood-fired grill? A fancy cut of meat?

Nope. The secret's in the sauce--and I'm about to spill.  The secret is butter.
Maître d’hôtel butter is a mixture of raw butter, parsley, and lemon juice.  The butter is spooned over a steak just as it leaves the grill, then melts onto the surface to leave behind only a sheen.

While I'm sharing a major trade secret here, I feel it’s my duty to report to all those trying to make healthy and positive changes in food they eat.  

The next time you order a lean steak at a restaurant ask your waiter if the chef finishes the steaks in butter and just say, “No, thank you.”  Better yet, save money and grill at home--then add color and flavor to your lean meat with these easy ideas and recipes. (We think these ideas are perfect for a simple Valentine's Day meal!)

Keep it simple: Pick up a prepared sauce
Leave the bottled steak sauce on the shelf. Most brands are prepared with loads of salt (280 mg per 1 tablespoon serving to be exact). Choose one of these instead.  Just spoon it over your just-cooked steak, then serve!
  • Pico de gallo  
  • Salsa verde
  • Barbeque sauce (thin it out with a bit of orange or lemon juice)
  • Olive tapenade (thin out a teaspoonful with lemon juice)
 
Easy "cream" sauces: Just one more step
Start with 1/2 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt as a base, then stir in…
  • Mustard Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar to thin to desired consistency
  • Creamy Salsa Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons prepared salsa and chopped fresh parsley
  • Wasabi Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon prepared wasabi paste (or to taste) and juice of one lemon
  • Creamy South of the Border Sauce: Add 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium taco seasoning and chopped cilantro
 
Start from scratch (but still ready in no time):
  • Pan reduction sauces are so simple and flavorful.  Use when cooking a steak in a grill pan or sauté pan.  Remove the cooked steak from the pan, and set aside.  Quickly add 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 4 ounces low-sodium beef or vegetable stock to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon to remove any fond (crust), then swirl in 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon miso paste.  Finish the sauce with drained and rinsed capers, chopped thyme or parsley.
     
  • Try a fresh green sauce on any sliced flank or flat-iron steak for a burst of color and citrus.  My recipe for chimichurri will make enough for dinner and then some.  Use leftover sauce as a spread for a sandwich the next day.
  • Some like it cool.  If you season your steak with a heavy dose of black pepper or spices, try this cooling cucumber sauce.  Thin to desired consistency with lemon juice.
     
  • Some like it hot.  Try this chili-garlic paste recipe then thin out with red wine vinegar to turn it into a heat lover’s sauce. (Perhaps this is the best choice for Valentine's Day!)
Here's a bonus recipe for you: Peppercorn Steak with Herbed Blue Cheese
Keep your steak sides simple: steamed broccoli or asparagus and boiled potatoes with herbs are great choices.
 
What is your favorite way to top your steak?
 
Want more healthy recipes from me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!
 
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Like this blog? Then you'll love "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight."
 


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