Lesley Nagy: Nothing says good summer eating than flavors from the south. Mar Jennings is in the kitchen with one chef who gives us an upscale twist on foods from the Lone Star State in today’s better bites.
Mar Jennings: Thanks Lesley, just over a decade ago, Chef Jon Bonnell was a teacher and from there he went to culinary school. Then he opened a restaurant and ultimately, writing a book, Fine Texas Cuisine. He’s here today to show us a really great summer dinner that is a meat, some serious meat.
Jon Bonnell: We’re going to do a steak dinner; nobody ever said lets celebrate with chicken dinner. Well its time for a big one. Let’s have a steak you know.
Mar Jennings: This is the way to do it.
Jon Bonnell: We’re going to let that get started, now our vegetable today. This was really fun, little cactus.
Mar Jennings: Little cactus, I never had cactus.
Jon Bonnell: You never had cactus.
Mar Jennings: This should be interesting.
Jon Bonnell: This is often called nopales. In Spanish, this is prickly pear cactus grows wild all over the State of Texas. Please don’t try to just go out and start grabbing this with your pocket knife.
Mar Jennings: With a warning, right. Okay.
Jon Bonnell: Yeah, there are lots of needles. When you buy them, there’s a tender green leaves that have most of the needles remove.
Mar Jennings: And where do you get something like that?
Jon Bonnell: Any of the Mexican markets will carry this.
Mar Jennings: Good to know.
Jon Bonnell: No policy, it’s usually what you're asking for. Take a knife and just cling it to the needles off and then just go right around the edge, cut a little halo off there. Get all of these, all the little prickly stuff off.
Mar Jennings: It’s almost like a pancake now.
Jon Bonnell: That’s it, and then we put those right on a hot grill. Now to go with this, we’re going to make a salad too. We’ll add all of these guys into some lime juice, freshly squeezed of course. The stuff in the bottle is not the same. I can assure you. We’re going to take the parmesan cheese on there, a little bit of cilantro. And we’re just going to puree everything together. Look at those grill marks, isn't that cool? Its cactus, it’s really starting to grill up sizzle on the inside, I love it. So let’s take that butter and cream mixture, pour it tight in here, we’ve got another one here. Get some of those in there and here we go. Let’s puree that guy also.
Mar Jennings: That’s the kitchen. Things are moving and flying that’s how you know you're cooking. You're making something.
Jon Bonnell: There we go. And then we’re going to actually go here to our potatoes.
Mar Jennings: And then, I'm going to mash that.
Jon Bonnell: Then you're going to mash them up. Now that was also seasoned with salt and pepper already.
Mar Jennings: Okay!
Jon Bonnell: If I don’t say enough times, season everything.
Mar Jennings: You love to season.
Jon Bonnell: That’s right and make sure you get some seasoning out there.
Mar Jennings: Okay, so I'm going to do this quickly and then lets see, you have one completed already, right.
Jon Bonnell: I got a steak that's already cooked. This guy will take a long time if we wanted to wait for it.
Mar Jennings: So, I'm quickly going to scoop this here.
Jon Bonnell: Let’s get some more mashed potatoes right in the middle of our plate here. Grab me a big old mound there. There we go. Now we’re talking.
Mar Jennings: There we go Texas style.
Jon Bonnell: We’re going to take that steak; we’re going to lean it right up on there. How good does that look?
Mar Jennings: It looks delicious.
Jon Bonnell: I'm telling you medium rare. I've finished cooking them in the oven until it gets to 125 degrees, the internal temperature that’s a perfect medium --
Mar Jennings: It looks so delicious.
Jon Bonnell: Now, see how this is starting to bubble just a little bit. Just starting to sizzle a little bit through that’s how you know it’s done.
Mar Jennings: That’s how you know it’s done.
Jon Bonnell: When it started to give off a little bit of its juices. And we’re going to take this guy, slice it into some little ribbons like this and then don’t do this without tongs. It will burn your fingers, I promise.
Mar Jennings: Put it right there, right location.
Jon Bonnell: We’ll put that guy right on there fan out just a little bit. There's our little.
Mar Jennings: Wonderful, boy lovely. You don’t know what you’re missing but I'm certainly going to enjoy. Thank you so much for being here.
Jon Bonnell: It’s my pleasure.
Mar Jennings: Real pleasure and I'm hungry.
Jon Bonnell: Let’s come after it.
Lesley Nagy: Definitely, didn’t know you could serve up cactus. Thanks Mar and you can pick up a copy of Jon Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, his original seasoning blends and his customized knives on his website, just head to betterTV.com for the link plus we’re going to have the recipe up as well.