My friend Stephane Gabart is a mercurial character; one moment culinary Zen master recommending single ingredient meals with only salt and/or butter as the sole accompaniment, and then the next, preparing the most elaborate dinners befitting a French king at Versailles. Maybe that’s why I like him so much….an extremist like myself, living the Bukowski quote: “Find what you love and let it kill you”. Complete poem:

Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover

I decided to close out 2013 and enter the new year on the Zen side of Stephane’s value proposition. Quebec raised Wagyu beef rib steak, extra-aged by the master butchers at Boucherie Lawrence, one of my top-two favourite butchers in Montreal. These from a mature bull, so well marbled and with a firmer texture and stronger taste. Bottle of Nikka Pure Malt whisky from Japan (Christmas gift from my son). Only condiment on the meat: A sprinkle of Ravida salt from Natalia’s estate in Sicily and a grating of Smoke black pepper. I love whisky with good beef, and I know it was a trend some years back but I don’t think it caught on (thankfully for me, as I tend to drop trends once they become popular).

Photo doesn’t convey it, but these babies were 20 oz each (bone in), inch-and-a quarter thick! Cooked up to about 16 oz of meat alone. Steam coming off the hot meat, just off the skillet, fogged the lens in macro mode (too close)! I seared them on a very hot pan and then finished them in the oven for 8 minutes…a bit longer than I should have, they were just medium rare and I prefer them a little less done. Very tasty, and the whisky is a perfect accompaniment.