Good friends have arrived from Denmark. We originally met 8 years ago when we lived near Copenhagen and had small children the same age at an international school. The first time we got together as families was for a meal in our home, and, since then, there has been no looking back. For the next 5 years we watched our children grow up while we shared many meals together. Our youngest daughters are still best friends, and I remember trying to first speak with their daughter who spoke no English at the time, and my Danish was very new. Instead, we tried to tickle each other, and we made each other laugh and our laughter was our shared language. My son and their eldest daughter are also the same age, and were young enough when they met that gender and differing language abilities were inconsequential, paling in contrast to their mutual obsessions with rocks, fossils and collecting creatures in tide pools.
It has been nearly 2 years since we last dined together, but I feel as though it was yesterday. As I prepare our dinner tonight - grilled ribeye steak with rosemary, arugula and parmesan - I feel as though a close family member has arrived, and I know exactly what to cook for them. I remember specific meals we shared and our conversations at the kitchen table, weaving around the food, the wine and the laughter, stretching late into the evening. I think how food is a universal language, a unifier and equalizer, creating traditions and strengthening friendships that last a lifetime.
4 ribeye steaks
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches arugula
Parmesan (parmigiano reggiano) shavings
Extra rosemary sprigs for garnish
At least 4 hours and up to one day in advance, place steaks in a bowl or container. Rub with olive oil, garlic, rosemary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator one hour before grilling and bring to room temperature.
Arrange steaks on prepared grill. Grill turning once, approximately 4 minutes per side for medium rare.
Place on cutting board, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes.
Arrange arugula on a large platter. Cut steaks in 1" slices. Place steaks over arugula. Top with parmesan shavings. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.