Dave and I have a tradition for Valentine’s Day. Instead of going out for dinner we cook for ourselves, but we take the opportunity to splurge on ingredients and make it extra special. We also rotate who makes the entree and who makes the dessert and appetizer. It is always a lot of fun, and we eat very well.
One year when it was my turn to make the main course I made Dungeness crab and leek ravioli. I intended for us to have filets as well, but as we approached our entree I knew we wouldn’t need the steaks. We have a tendency to make too much food, and we were both getting full. Instead of completely over-stuffing ourselves, I saved the steaks for the next day. I also had some leftover ravioli filling. I decided to put the filling on the steaks, and they were glorious!
The sweetness of Dungeness crab compliments steak very nicely. Leeks have a unique flavor that does not overwhelm the crab. Here the leeks are cooked slowly so they are nice and soft. The ricotta provides acts as a creamy binding to help them stay on top of the steak.
This recipe makes enough to very generously top two steaks. It is borderline too much. I really pile it on! The joy of making this at home is you get a ton of crab. If your steaks are small filets you could do three or four. If you do ribeyes or new yorks the topping will be spread out more, but it will still be delicious.
Dungeness Crab, and Leek Topped Steaks
- 2 thick cut steaks, 9-16 oz each, or 4 smaller steaks (Sirloin, filet, ribeye, new york are good options)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 3T unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium sized leek, about 2 cups of white and light green part, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into quarter inch half moons
- 1 clove of garlic, minced or finely grated
- 1 cup Dungeness crab meat (about 5 oz, or one crab worth)
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1 T lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- Season steaks the night before: Liberally season steaks with salt and pepper. Return to fridge on a plate.
- To prepare topping (You can do this the night before if desired.): Heat 2T butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Lower temp to medium-low and add leeks and garlic if using. Stir to coat with butter. Sprinkle with salt. When leeks start to sweat, stir again. Add 2 T water. Cover with parchment paper, fitted directly on top of leeks and garlic in the pan. Cook until leeks are very soft and translucent and and occasionally stir. You may need to add a little more water or lower the temperature to avoid them getting crispy. Allow to cool.
- Fold crab meat, and leeks into the ricotta. Taste it, and add lemon juice if desired, and season with salt if necessary. You may not need any salt.
- To prepare steaks: Preheat oven to 500F. Heat skillet or sauté pan over medium or medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp of oil. Allow oil to heat up. Sear steaks 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Carefully top steaks with crab leek topping, distributing between each steak. Press it down into mounds onto the steaks. Add 1 T butter to pan, allowing to melt. Using tongs, carefully run each steak bottom through the butter.
- Cook steaks in oven for 6-7 minutes for medium-rare. If desired, you can use part of the time to broil the steaks to give the topping more color. If you like your steaks more done I would finish them with the oven switched to broil after the initial six minutes.
- Searing Tips: One day maybe I will dedicate a whole post to searing! 1. Gently pat excess moisture from your steaks. 2. Don’t crowd them. One 10-12 inch skillet works for two medium-sized steaks, but if you’re doing more than two steaks you will need another pan. A 12 inch skillet will also accommodate two ribeyes, but I would suggest using two pans if you don’t have one that large. 3. The pan should be very hot, but not smoking. If it smokes remove it from the heat until the smoke stops. Return it to the heat and slightly lower the temp. 4. Press down gently on your steak with tongs while it’s searing to help it brown. 5. If you try to flip it and it sticks, it’s not ready.
- Use an instant read thermometer to check your steak temps if you are unsure. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook 5-10 degrees after you remove them from the oven.
- Homemade ricotta is easy to make, and worth the effort if you have time. Heat 2 quarts whole milk to a high simmer. Turn off the heat and add 2oz of lemon juice. Stir slowly and briefly with a whisk. Let sit for a half hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. It makes about 2 cups of ricotta and you can use the liquid in soups or risotto.