When I think about James Bond, his eating habits never comes to mind. Instead, I think of international espionage, double agent seductresses and deus ex machina gadgets to get you out of any certain-death conundrum. But little did I know that in the Bond books written by Ian Fleming starting in 1953, food played a part of the storytelling.
Paul, a huge James Bond fan of both the books and the movies (Never Say Never Again not included) turned me on to some of the in-depth culinary descriptions mentioned in the books.
In the book Casino Royale, James Bond dines with Vesper Lynd and orders dinner in depth:
“I myself will accompany Mademoiselle with the caviar; but then I would like a very small tournedos, underdone, with sauce Béarnaise and a cœur d’artichaut. While Mademoiselle is enjoying the strawberries, I will have an avocado pear with a little French dressing.”
Moments later, he explains to Vesper the reasons behind his intricate ordering techniques:
“You must forgive me. I take a ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old-maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.”
After a bit of research, I discovered that Ian Fleming himself was a bit of a culinary enthusiast, considering scrambled eggs his favorite food. Fleming went as far as even publishing a copy of his recipe in the James Bond short story, “007 in New York.” The includes a dozen eggs and almost a whole stick of butter to serve 4 people, preferably with champagne. But to many, James Bond will always be known for the way her prefers his martini, shaken not stirred.
In ode to James Bond’s 50th (film) anniversary and my anticipation of the newest movie, Skyfall, I was determined to make something that Mr. Bond himself would eat: simply grilled NY strip steak (a staple in his diet), smothered in mushrooms and black garlic cooked with two shots of vodka.
Black garlic is really regular garlic fermented over a couple weeks. It’s ready to eat so it doesn’t take much cooking and the taste can be described as a bit like molasses. The black garlic adds complexity to already woodsy mushrooms and a nice compliment to the steak. I think Bond would approve but maybe not with the use of bottom shelf vodka. Maybe I should have considered my using edible gold leaf on some of the mushrooms ala the infamous scene from Goldfinger.
Mushroom-Smothered Steak with Two Shots of Vodka
NY strip steak, removed from refrigerator and brought to room temperature
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cloves black garlic, peeled and sliced
2 shots vodka
salt and pepper
Preheat grill to medium high.
Brush meat with olive oil and season with garlic salt and pepper. Using tongs, place steak on grill. Flip steak after 2 minutes, rotating 90 degrees and cook approximately 3 additional minutes (for medium rare) or until desired. Remove from grill, cover with foil and allow to rest.
In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, adding salt and pepper and cook until tender. Add vodka and cook for additional minute and remove from heat. Add sliced black garlic and place on top of steak.