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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Cast iron skillet steak & potatoes with garlic-herbed butter and rustic apple-rum olive oil cake

Argentina and Italy come together for a palatable feast.

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

One of the most fun and appetizing things to do when cooking is fusion cuisine, done right of course. There‘s no doubt that Italian fare has been a tremendous gastronomic influence in Argentine culture, let alone their own cuisine.

They also happen to be one of my favorite types of food, and if I can have them both at the same time, why not?

(Photo: Enzo Romano)

Once again, I am creating another recipe in my beloved cast iron pan. Steak and potatoes, are practically basic food pieces found in Argentinean kitchens, that never disappoint.

In true Italian style of keeping things simple, herbs play the vital key roles to make this new dish a memorable one.

(Photo: Enzo Romano)

Borrowing again from a superb culinary region in northwest Italy, La Liguria, typical regional ingredients such as: olive oil, parsley, sage and rosemary create the perfect blend not only for the steaks and potatoes but also for the compound butter that will serve as the savory finale to the dish.

Though Ligurian cuisine prides itself in its famous Genoese pesto sauce and abundant seafood fare, I opted for a more terrestrial dish.

(Photo: Enzo Romano)

I did, however, discovered a delightful dessert from the region, a rustic apple olive-oil cake. Similarly to the previously posted Lemon-Ricotta Olive Oil cake, this cake adds lemon-marinated apples, spices and my own not-so-secret ingredient to the mix...rum. Then topping off the cake with a dollop of freshly whipped vanilla cream, brings a sublime finale to this meal.

Bringing Argentina back to the picture, the main entree is paired with a fantastic (and often understated) Cabernet Franc wine. This incredibly smooth, yet full-bodied wine will guarantee a balanced culinary and oenophilic experience.

Let’s get cooking!


Cast iron skillet seared skirt steaks, pan fried potatoes and compound garlic-herbed butter

Rustic apple-rum olive oil cake with vanilla whipped cream

Wine pairing:

2018 Zuccardi Q - Cabernet Franc

(Uco Valley, Mendoza - Argentina)

Serves 4


Steaks & Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds of lean skirt steak, cut in four equal parts

  • 1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch thick rounds, skin on

  • 4 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of butter

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme

  • 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped sage

  • 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary

  • Sea salt and pepper

Garlic-Herbed Butter:

*I highly recommend making this butter ahead of time and storing it in the fridge until needed (can be made a day ahead)

  • 1/4 cup of softened salted butter

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme

  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped sage

  • 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped rosemary

Apple Cake:

*The foundation of this cake is essentially the same as the previously posted Ricotta-Olive Oil Cake with a few additions and omissions.

  • 3 gala apples, peeled, cored and chopped in small cubes

  • Zest and juice of the one lemon

  • 4 tablespoons of dark aged rum

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

  • 1 ½ cups of ricotta

  • 2/3 cup of olive oil

  • 1 ½ cups of sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup of almond meal/flour

  • 1 tbl baking powder

  • 1/3 tsp soda

Cake decoration:

  • 1/3 cup of powder sugar (enough to cover the top of the cake)

  • Fresh strawberries, sliced to look like fan (for garnishing)

Vanilla Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar

  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract


Garlic-Herbed Butter:

  • In a bowl, mix butter, garlic and herbs.

  • Place butter mixture on a plastic cling film and roll up tightly the ends to form a tube shape.

  • Refrigerate until butter is set and firm.

Steak & Potatoes:

  • In a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, butter, potatoes, garlic, thyme, rosemary and sage. Cook for about 3 minutes, flip potatoes and cook and additional 3 minutes or until fork tender. Remove potatoes and transfer to a plate.

  • Turn the skillet to high heat. If skillet is dried, add remaining olive oil and carefully the steaks. Cook on each side for 1minute or until outside is browned. Reduce heat to medium high. Cook the steaks to desired doneness.

  • Top steaks with thick slices of compound butter. Add the potatoes back to the pan and heat through and let the butter melt into the steaks.


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.

  • In a medium bowl, place chopped apples and add juice of one lemon, gently mix so that all the apples are coated with the lemon juice.

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the ricotta, olive oil, sugar, and zest until completely combined.

  • Next, add in one egg at a time until they are completely mixed in.

  • In a separate large bowl whisk together the flour, almond meal baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until combined. Whisk well to ensure and clumps are removed.

  • Transfer the dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and whisk together just until everything is combined. Add apples and rum and mix again.

  • Pour the batter into a 9" spring form pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until browned on top and firm in the center.

  • Place the cake onto a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature (could take up to two hours) before decorating and serving.

Cake decoration:

  • Once cake has cooled off, dust generously with powder sugar.

  • Save strawberries for garnishing along with whipped cream.

Vanilla Whipped Cream:

  • In large mixing bowl, add heavy whipping cream (make sure cream is cold) and with an electric mixer (high setting) whip the cream and slowly add sugar and vanilla until stiff speaks form.

  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate immediately until needed for dessert time.

Serve it up!

Steak & Potatoes: As shown in previous postings where the cast iron pan has been used, the cast iron itself makes for a wonder centerpiece at the table, so that the serving is family style. You can also add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary on the center of pan for garnishing (plus it will elevate the aroma).

Featured on this posting, I have also shown how to individually plate this dish by simply placing a serving of potatoes on one side of the middle of the plate and on the other side, a piece of the steak, with some slices of extra steak on top. Finish off with a slice or dollop of the compound butter in top of the steak.


This rustic cake is so eye pleasing that it merits being featured in the middle of the table when it’s time to serve dessert.

For plating purposes, I recommend slicing an ample piece and place it on the middle of a dessert plate, spooning some whipped cream on the side of the plate and garnishing with the fanned sliced fresh strawberries, next to the cream.

Mangia bene! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

Special thanks to my friends at Winesellers Ltd. for their wonderful contribution of this pleasant Cabernet Franc wine.

Zuccardi Q Cabernet Franc is sourced from select old vines on at the Altamira vineyard in Mendoza. The front label image illustrates the stone walls of the Zuccardi winery rising from the Uco Valley soils symbolizing how the Andes mountains emerged millions of years ago.

2018 Zuccardi Q - Cabernet Franc

(Uco Valley, Mendoza - Argentina)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: Ruby red color with fresh fruit aromas of cherry, cassis, and violet notes. Lush acidity, firm tannins and a long finish. It can be consumed now but will age beautifully for several years.

Grapes: 100% Cabernet Franc

Food pairing: Grilled meats (beef, pork, lamb) and vegetable dishes and medium-sharp cheeses.

For more information, visit:


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)

Special thanks to my Italian friend Enzo Romano, the amazing photographer that graciously shared his wonderful photos of the Ligurian region.

Grazie mille Enzo per la tua fantastica fotografia e abilità artistica. Saluti!

Follow Enzo on Instagram at: enk420

(Photo: Enzo Romano)

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1 Comment

Aida Limongi
Aida Limongi
May 05, 2021

Thank you Carlos for another excellent menu for inspiration and enjoyment. Love ❤️ it all . This Argentinian wine allowed me to dream on a trip to Mendoza !

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