Mr. Friendly’s has become the complete manifestation of it’s owners’ philosophy of using locally grown, seasonal ingredients to create unique, artisan interpretations of traditional southern dishes. To demonstrate just a sampling of what he produces for Columbians during a typical busy day, Ricky Mollohan (owner) took some time after lunch service at Mr. Friendly’s (and before dinner service at all three of his restaurants), to personally prepare three different dishes (one from each) that he encourages the home chef to try.
- 4 6-8 ounce flat iron steaks (can substitute hanger or skirt steaks)
- 2 large vine ripe tomatoes, sliced to your desired thickness
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil
- 2 cups balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup blanched almond slices or slivers
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2-4 tbsp blended oil
- Your favorite blue cheese in small wedges or pieces
For balsamic reduction, in small sauce pan on medium heat, heat balsamic vinegar until it just begins to boil. Add sugar, stir to incorporate, and reduce heat to low. Keep a close eye on it as it reduces and stir often. When it begins to stick to your spoon, remove from heat and transfer to a room-temperature bowl. It will thicken as it cools.
For the steaks, season Flat Iron steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. In large skillet or heavy-bottomed sauté pan on medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp blended oil. Heat oil and carefully add steaks to hot oily pans! Sear for two minutes per side for rare (add one minute per side for medium rare to medium). Transfer steaks to cutting board and allow them to cool.
In a food processor, combine basil, parsley, lemon juice, almonds, and garlic. Pulse until smooth, but with a “pesto” consistency. Add a touch of oil and pulse again. Season to taste and continue to pulse if a smoother mixture is desired.
To plate the dish, slice the steaks on a bias against the grain after they have rested. Dress the plate with the pesto first, and place sliced tomatoes atop the pesto. Season the tomatoes gently with salt and pepper. Top tomatoes with blue cheese pieces and set the steak slices against the tomatoes. Drizzle EVOO and reduced balsamic mixture gently over the entire dish.