WHAT'S FOR DINNER?

Although this dish looks like something you've tasted before, the combination of Chinese five-spice powder and a garlicky ginger-scallion topping makes it altogether different.

You'll need an instant-read thermometer and a good exhaust fan.

Leftovers taste great cold. Serve with sauteed carrot coins. Adapted from "Seven Spoons:

My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day," by Tara O'Brady (Penguin Random House, 2015).

FIVE-SPICE STEAK

Makes 4 to 6 servings

1 bone-in rib-eye steak (about 1 pound, at least 1 inch thick)

1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 small red Thai/bird's-eye chili pepper

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic

1-inch piece fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons tamari (may substitute low-sodium soy sauce if gluten is not an issue)

1 teaspoon raw cane sugar or light brown sugar

3 scallions

2 large handfuls cilantro leaves

Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat to heat up while you season the meat all over with the five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Seed the chili pepper, then mince it. Use a brush to dab the toasted sesame oil evenly over the steak.

The garlic, ginger and chili pepper can be gathered together as you work: Mince the garlic. Peel, then mince the ginger root.

Add the steak to the hot pan; let it cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, then gently move the steak around the pan a bit; cook for another 2 minutes, then turn it over and cook on the second side for about 6 minutes or until it is nicely browned and the interior temperature registers 120 to 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (medium-rare). Transfer the meat to a plate to rest; reduce the heat to medium-low.

After the skillet has heated for 2 minutes on medium-low, stir the garlic mixture into the pan juices in the skillet. As it cooks, combine the rice vinegar, tamari and cane or light brown sugar in a cup, then pour that mixture into the skillet, using a wooden spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Cook for about 1 minute, then scrape the contents of the skillet into a medium bowl. This is your sauce.

Mince the scallions (white and light-green parts) and chop the cilantro leaves; add half of each to the bowl of sauce.

Cut the steak into thin slices, piling them on a platter (discard the bone). Spoon some of the sauce over the top, then garnish with the remaining scallions and cilantro. Pass the remaining sauce at the table. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving (based on 6): 190 calories, 11 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

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