Besides the free-range, grass-fed Australian beef I went for, I had hoped to pick up a few other things on my trip to the ShopRite in Rochelle Park yesterday, but prices were all over the place.
As I walked into the store, I saw a stack of boxes with clementines, not from Spain but from Morocco, for a low $4.99 with a store card. But not far away, a 2-pound package of the elusive herbicide-free Campari tomatoes were priced at $7.99 -- $4 a pound. I just stared at the price sign in disbelief. I did pick up two pointy cantaloupes from Guatemala for $3.
The Australian whole tenderloin for filet mignon was on sale for $4.99 a pound with a store card, but I couldn't find any that weighed more than 4.6 pounds, even though the sales circular said average weight was 6 pounds to 8 pounds. It's sold under the Nature's Reserve label. Next to it, the same cut of beef marked USDA Select -- the lowest of three U.S. government grades -- was on sale for $6.99 a pound. Why is free-range, grass-fed beef selling for $2 a pound less than conventionally raised beef? The sale ends Saturday.
When I got home, I trimmed as much fat as possible from the tenderloin, sliced it thin and divided it among three freezer bags, pouring on Korean bulgogi marinade (it looked similar to what is shown in photo above). They went into the freezer, enough for three meals of Korean barbecue at home with rice, red-leaf lettuce for wrapping and store-bought side dishes.
Then I prepared dinner -- spaghetti with sardines. This is not the classic Italian recipe of pasta con sarde, which uses a tomato-less sauce . This is a thrown together recipe that takes only the time needed to boil the pasta.
I used three cans of Moroccan sardines in tomato sauce I bought at Fattal's Bakery in Paterson for 89 cents a can (Fattal's has the best sardine prices around). The sardines have no oil, so I poured three or four ounces of extra-virgin oilive oil over the fish in the pan, then added about a cup and a half of leftover marinara sauce, dried Italian seasoning, basil and oregano, and red pepper flakes. Meanwhile, I boiled a half-pound of thick spaghetti.
With a big salad of organic salad greens, bread and Italian red wine, it was a satisfying, meatless meal, but I should have made more spaghetti, my 12-year-old son said.
ShopRite of Rochelle Park, 220 W. Passaic St.;
(201) 843-1424; open 24 hours.
Fattal's Bakery, 975 Main St.; (973) 742-7125;
Paterson; open seven days.