Steak for Valentine’s Day 

Long ago relegated by my partner to Hallmark Holiday status, Valentine’s Day nevertheless requires a little someth’n – someth’n to celebrate love. For my two young sons, that means making – and receiving – enough valentines for each child in their class. For me and my husband, that means steak for dinner. Steak is our ideal Valentine’s Day meal: it requires just a little prep and it comes out great with little effort. For this year’s celebration, I am using Chef Ed Lee’s recipe for grilled rib eye steak with gochugang butter.

Lee recently developed a traditional, fermented Korean chile paste called gochujang (pronounced “go-chew-jang,”). Made by Chung Jung One in Korea, Lee’s version of gochujang is vegan and gluten-free and comes in an easy to squeeze bottle. The flavor is rich and round with an undercurrent of sweetness to balance the chile heat. It is an ideal partner for meaty proteins and vegetables.

Chef Ed Lee's Gochujang chile sauce

Chef Ed Lee’s Gochujang chile sauce

The steak recipe is simple and calls for ingredients you are likely to have on hand (butter, sesame oil, black pepper) but the results are deliciously addictive. Make the butter the night before, prep a little salad (I’m doing a kale salad with a sesame ginger dressing), a baked potato and a nice bottle of wine and your Valentine’s Day is ready to roll.

I tested this recipe last fall when the weather was warm and the grill was the preferred method of cooking but the steaks are as good when prepared on a stovetop with a sturdy cast iron pan. Here’s to Hallmark Holidays!


Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Gochujang Butter and Nori

Recipe by Chef Edward Lee

Reprinted with permission


Gochujang Butter

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 tablespoons Chung Jung One Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon organic honey

¼ teaspoon sea salt

pinch of black pepper



2 8-ounce rib-eye steaks

salt and pepper

oil for grill

1 lemon, cut in half

*Nori powder


  1. Make the gochujang butter ahead of time. Add butter and rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until just combined and smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use. (It will keep for up to a month.)


  1. Remove steaks from the refrigerator, season generously with salt and pepper and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F). Using tongs, rub the grates with a towel dipped in vegetable oil.


  1. Bring gochujang butter to room temperature and give it a few stirs with a spoon.


  1. Grill steaks on high for about 2 minutes and until you have defined grill marks. Flip steaks and add a dollop of gochujang butter over the top of each one. As the butter melts, baste the tops of the steaks with the melted gochujang butter. Cook steaks to desired doneness, about another 2 minutes for medium rare.


  1. Remove steaks from grill and let rest on a cutting board for 2 minutes before slicing. In the meantime, take your cut lemon halves and grill them with the cut side touching the grill. Grill until blackened and reserve.


  1. Slice rib-eye steaks and transfer to a platter. Top each slice of steak with a spoonful of gochujang butter and a squeeze of the grilled lemon juice. Sprinkle with nori powder and flaky sea salt. Serve immediately.


*Nori powder can be bought at specialty Asian stores. You can also make your own by grinding nori sheets in a blender on high until they become powdery.


Chef Lee’s gochjang is available at Albertson’s. Jewel Osco, and Lucky Supermarkets and