The Happy Chef: Two Proteins, One-Pan Dinner

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Food is love and no one likes to be disappointed at the dinner hour, most of all the home chef enamored of pleasing everyone all the time. Namely: me!  

So how do you whip up a festive and delicious meal for your beloved when she rebels at the sight of meat and your idea of a Saturday night feast does not feature a hunk of fish? Answer? The two protein, one pan extravaganza.

In the summertime, of course, the barbeque is your answer to filling the whole left side of the menu with one blazing cook surface. But wintertime in New York is cold and our kitchens small and cruel.  So on a recent blustery February night I had a brainstorm. I scored a hugely appetizing rib eye for myself and a tasty filet of salmon for the good doctor. The creamy garlic potato mash works for both of us. No-brainer. And a 400-degree oven was the simple answer to what to do with a dozen skinny asparagus spears. Just oil, salt and wed to a brief relationship with high heat. Done!

But for my two-protein brainstorm I must give credit to Sam Sifton of the New York Times for his inspired pan-roasted wild salmon recipe – so easy to remember the good parts that I didn’t even need to look it up.

As the potatoes boiled and the asparagus roasted, I heated my skillet to smoke alarm high (oh how our apartment-dwelling neighbors love us!).

The only challenge? Do you open a bottle of red or a bottle of white? Billy Joel would say both. I am at one with that.


Two Protein Pan Roasted Supper


–8 oz. thick slab of beef and fish

–A couple of fresh-diced jalapeno peppers

–2-inch pat of butter and 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

–Salt and pepper to taste


•  Salt and pepper the steak and fish (don’t be shy)


Over high heat, add a thick pat of butter and a gulp of extra virgin to the best skillet you have. When the fat starts to bubble, in goes the generously salt and peppered poisson et boeuf. Sear each protein on one side then flip and sear the other.

Push meat and fish to one side of the pan and add the diced jalapenos. Now you have your flavor burst. Immediately start basting the fish and steak with the buttery, flash-cooked sauce already in the pan. Repeat as often as you can until done or until cooked to yours and your partner’s perfection. This recipe even allows for two vastly done wellnesses on each dish.

Closing Tips

You can also add garlic or diced shallot to the jalapeno basting mix. Feel free to spoon the spicy jalapeno butter on top of your meat and fish when you plate. Think about really great steak knives. I like Laguiole from France. They add festivity to the table and allows you to savor every delicious slice.




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