Steak and The Desolation of Smaug

Well, we watched the first movie in The Hobbit series for Memorial Day, now it’s time to watch The Desolation of Smaug and pair it up with a Bone-in Ribeye and a Cucumber-Mint-Pomegranate Salad.  I’ll take care of the steak and Gabriela will tend the salad.  I return to Revival Market and purchase a rib-eye from Augustus Farms, which is in Yoakum, Texas about two hours west of Houston.  The cattle graze on barley, flax and grass and have never been fed animal-by-products, antibiotics or hormones.  Organic and local.  Check and check.  I melt a stick of butter with fresh oregano from our herb garden, then set it aside.  I put a copper pan on the stove, turn the burner up to high-heat, wait a few minutes then place the rib-eye, coated with kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper smack in the middle of the pan.  I wait four minutes, blood just beginning to ooze, then flip it over and sear the other side for four minutes.  Then, I turn down the that to low, pour in the oregano-butter, and tilt up the pan, spooning the butter back over the steak.  I do this for a couple of minutes.  Now let’s take a look at the salad.

My son’s favorite dressing: olive oil, minced raw garlic, soy sauce or salt, honey or jam, balsamic or other vinegar. We happened to have a bunch of mint leaves and a pomegranate, so I decided to put these together with cucumber and a handful of walnuts, as well as some Egyptian spinach. The combination seemed Mediterranean, and made me think of the opposition of North and South in Tolkien’s world. Despite the fact that the Enemy in Tolkien’s real world Europe, the Germans, descended from the Northern European tribes and cultures that the world of The Hobbit seems modeled on, Tolkien chooses to present his fictional enemy, Sauron, as a force of the South, connected with fire and heat. Though Orcs are not quite as unabashedly modeled on Middle Eastern culture as C.S. Lewis’ Calormenes, but there is still a whiff of post-colonial prejudice there. If I ‘m not mistaken, Orc blades are sometimes scimitar-shaped. And correct me if I’m wrong, but my sense is that the Elves speak something reminiscent of Icelandic, while Orc language features some of the guttural sounds that could be either Arabic or German…

However, Tolkien’s Evil Forces are not gourmands. I can’t picture the Goblin King or the Pale Orc nibbling on mint and pomegranate.  As for the strips of steak that decorated the salad, though,  I am sure both orcs, dwarves and hobbits, and even elves, would have dug in at our table this evening.

And as a final word, scroll through the pictures to see the meal take shape.

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