The Coupon Clipper scours the specials for the best deals in New York's big grocery stores.

2007_01_shellsteak4.jpgFor the first week after the holidays, most grocery stores probably realized they had bludgeoned their customers enough with holiday sales and decided to play it cool. Food Emporium had a sale on gourmet chicken salad. Gristedes discounted bread. But Fairway apparently has no sense of shame. They lead off their post-holiday specials with $3.99 Sirloin, a price so ridiculous it's difficult not to stop thumbing through a stack of grocery specials and call it a day. It's an absurdly large hunk of meat, too, and will be sure to mess with that diet you've just started. But if you get stuck staring at that front page you'll miss the better deal hidden on page 3.

There you'll notice $5.99 Shell Steak, also known as the New York Strip, which is more tender, and an absolute bargain compared to the other grocery stores. Really, there isn't a contest:
Fresh Direct: $13.99 per pound
Food Emporium: $19.99 per pound
Whole Foods: $11.99 per pound (only had boneless)
Gristedes: $16.99 per pound
Fairway: $5.99 per pound

2007_01_shellsteak1.jpgWhat to do with such a beautiful specimen? Though, until today, the budding flowers around the city might have convinced you to lug out the grill, bust out the the swim suits, and have a June in January party, we recommend the broiler for all your winter steak needs. Especially when the steak is this good. There is no real need for a marinade or a sauce, for it will only get in the way. Just drizzle enough olive oil on to lightly coat the steak and season with lots of salt and a little pepper. Preheat the broiler for 10 minutes or so, then put the steak in. Cook for 4 minutes for medium rare, flip, and cook for another four. Remove the steak and let it sit for a couple minutes before tearing in.

It's going to be great by itself, but for a little more flavor we added some herb butter, which can be whipped up in a minute.

2007_01_shellsteak2.jpgFor presentation's sake, we also recommend cutting the steak before dishing out. You'll be complemented on your terrific plating, and it will dissaude you from plowing through a 13 ounce steak and completely ruining your New Year's resolutions before the first month is out. Sliced nicely and laid across the plate, you'll easily fool the one you love into thinking they are eating more than they actually are. Plus, you'll save room for some organic spinach, which is also on sale at Fairway for $1.50. Sautee two cloves of minced garlic over medium heat, add the spinach and cook until it's condensed, about 5 minutes. Squeeze in the juice of 1/4 a lemon at the end. With some mashed potatoes chock-full of that herb butter, this meal for two comes in under $10.

If you don't have a broiler or just simply don't want that beautiful cut to touch the nether regions of your old, dirty oven, a cast iron skillet will work well. It requires a little more maintence, and doesn't have that flame scorched, summer in January smell.

Unfortunately, these prices are only at the Red Hook Fairway, and because all the water taxis are shut down for the season, it's going to be a long haul unless you live in Brooklyn. Without a car, the easiest way is to take the B61 from Jay Street-Borough Hall.

Fairway Market
480-500 Van Brundt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn
The deal lasts until January 12th.