If you’re looking for Danko’s Salad Dressing, it’s here.
When I was a young man, I worked at my Father’s Restaurant on the line at nights. One of the most often-ordered dishes on the menu was the “Danko Special”. It was a dish that my dad developed — we ate it out our house for as long as I can remember — it consisted of a dish that had some Yugoslavian accents, some 1950’s-60’s-style dining accents, and just a little bit “magic dust “sprinkled on it by our Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Michel Gehin.
The Copper Hills Restaurant Burned down in 2001, and the Danko Special hasn’t been served in any commercial form since 1991. I want to release this recipe to those that remember ordering it, others that wonder just what the heck all the fuss about the Copper Hills might have been about, and finally as a recipe that you’d enjoy. This recipe is for all of you that have ordered it in a some “past life”. This special time for me seems so long ago; I never thought that there would be a Globe Miami without a Copper Hills. You know who you are, and you’re all part of my extended family. Remember what it was called (Danko is pronounced “Don’-Ko”).
First, you’ll need a Top Sirloin Steak. New York is pretty good, Filet is OK. I like the Top Sirloin for the marble and flavor — I think that the filet doesn’t have enough fat for my purposes, and the New York has the fat in the “wrong place”. Your mileage will vary — this is just the way that it was done. Then you’ll need the vegetables for the dish:
- 1 medium Bell Pepper
- 1 medium Onion
- 1 medium Tomato
- 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms (Crimini – Italian Brown)
- 1-2 cloves of fresh minced garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
You’ll need 1 tbsp of butter and olive oil, plus cooking sherry (there’s a substitute for this, but will get into alternatives in a moment).
To cook it “Danko’s way”:
- Peel tomato by dipping in boiling water until the skin can be picked off.
- Slice the Bell Pepper in half across their “waist”, then remove the seeds and rinds.
- Slice the onion in half across the “waist”.
- Slice the mushrooms in “pie slice” wedges, about 6 per medium mushroom.
- Fry the steak in butter and olive oil until it’s done to your taste.
- WHILE the steak is cooking, take a saute pan with olive oil and put the bell peppers and onions in. You’ll want to brown each side. When one side is done, add the mushrooms and garlic. You may need to add more oil if the mushrooms begin to suck it up. Once the mushrooms are in, add your tomato. You’ll want to gently roll the tomato around until it is browned all over as much as possible. All the vegetables should finish at the same time. Once the vegetables are near finished, add the cooking wine and flame. The steak should be done now. Plate the steak on a heated dinner plate. Add the vegetables over the top of the steak, then pour the wine/oil drippings all round. Douse the top with chopped parsley and serve.
I won’t lie that I like to cook and I prefer to “modernize” the Danko special a bit. Here are my suggested variations. Mix and match as you see fit:
- Get your veggies at a farmer’s market.
- Use Dry Vermouth instead of Cooking Sherry (Marsala ain’t bad, either).
- Julienne the onions and peppers — it’s more fun when you add yellow and red, and even more fun if you throw in a “Big Jim” Chile. When you serve the vegetable mix, plate it first and use it as a “bed” for the steak. The tomato and the mushrooms go in last still, along with the juice.
- You can broil the tomato with a light dust of Parmesan, Asiago or any sharp Italian cheese.
- The original recipe calling for Crimini mushrooms is great. Whip on a forest mushroom mix, Chanterelles,etc.
- Try it with lumpy mashed potatoes with horseradish, polenta or even hash browns!
Bon Apetit. Have fun.