Friday, January 18, 2013

My Butcher Thinks I'm Crazy!!!

As I promised, I would share with you how to make Whole Baked Camembert into a heavenly meal by serving it with Anthony Bourdain's "Salad d'Onglet," from his Les Halles Cookbook. This recipe is so delicious and pairs perfectly with the whole baked Camembert. My only problem is that I can't find an onglet steak! I've asked all the butchers I know, but they think I'm delusional! I ask, "Do you know the hanger steak, butcher's steak, onglet steak, from near the tenderloin and the rib?" Their answer: Crickets... So, in my defense I found an excellent article: Ask Casey: Hanger, Skirt, Flank, and Flatiron Steaks. Thanks Casey, I will be educating all my local butchers with this article, they'll be so happy?!?!

Because I couldn't find onglet steak, I used flatiron steak instead and the results were amazingly delicious! This recipe uses soy sauce in the marinade and finishing sauce, so I omitted adding any additional salt. You won't believe how hearty and satisfying this salad is, and the ginger really makes it sing! Also, you want to throw in some of that demi-glace, which is supposed to be hanging out in the freezer! Add a bottle of French red wine and you've got a meal you won't soon forget!

Salad d'Onglet

Serves 4

For the steak
12 ounces/340 g onglet steak (I used 16 ounce flatiron steak), cut into 1 1/2 ounce pieces (same-size chunks)
1/2 ounce/14 g fresh ginger, grated (I use my microplane.)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (if you use a garlic press, you shall surely burn in Hell)
4 tablespoons/56 ml soy sauce

For the sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons/28 g butter
1/4 cup/56 ml white wine
1/2 cup/56 ml dark chicken or veal stock (an added spoon from your stash of demi-glace would be nice, and so worth it!)
1 tablespoon/28 ml soy sauce
1/8 ounce/3 g fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 sprig flat parsley, chopped

For the salad
5 ounces/112 g mesclun salad mix (I used baby spring mix.)
1 shallot, thinly sliced

For the red wine vinaigrette
1/4 cup/60 ml red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon/2.5 g Dijon mustard
1/2 cup/120 ml extra-virgin olive oil

For marinating the steak
Place the meat in a deep bowl or dish large enough to hold the meat in a single layer. Add the ginger, chopped garlic cloves, and soy sauce, mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (If you don't have overnight to marinate the meat, 2 to 3 hours still makes it fairly tender and flavorful.)

For the red wine vinaigrette
In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit 30 minutes, then remove and discard the garlic. Add the mustard and slowly whisk in the oil, continuing to whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Set aside until ready to use. (Any leftover vinaigrette should be stored in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature before using.)

For the steak and sauce
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Season lightly with pepper. (The soy sauce more than compensates for the lack of salt.) Place the saute pan over high heat and add 1 tablespoon/14 g of the butter. When the butter has foamed and subsided, add the meat, working in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Sear 3 minutes on each side, so that the meat is nicely browned. Using tongs, set the meat aside on a plate.

Over high heat, stir in the wine, scraping the bottom, of course, with the wooden spoon. Cook until the pan is almost dry, then add the stock (and the demi-glace, if you have any) and the soy and reduce by half. Add the remaining 1/8 ounce/3 g ginger and the sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then whisk in the remaining butter. Return the meat to the pan and cook for about a minute. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

Finishing the dish
Place the mesclun in a large bowl and add the shallot. Add enough of the vinaigrette to moisten, but not drown, the greens. (Save the remainder of the vinaigrette for another use.) Toss well and arrange the salad in the center of a large serving platter. Arrange the meat around the salad and drizzle with the sauce. Serve right away.

(Mmmmm! That bread and salad are delicious together!)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Hangover

I can't think of a better way to start the new year than with my most beloved breakfast, "Eggs Benedict!" Eggs Benedict is a classic American dish with many theories of it's creation. The most interesting version is that of Lemuel Benedict. Lemuel Benedict was a dashing ladies' man, a successful New York stockbroker, had a reputation for leaving huge tips at New York's finest restaurants, and was frequently included in the newspaper society columns. In 1894, Lemuel showed up at the former Waldorf hotel location with a nasty hangover. He ordered two poached eggs, bacon, buttered toast and a pitcher of Hollandaise sauce. The dish was quickly adopted by the Waldorf, substituting rounds of ham for the bacon and an English muffin for the toast. Lemuel enjoyed the attention and prestige following his creation. Upon Lemuel's death in 1943, Jack Benedict, Lemuel's first cousin and real estate salesman from Colorado, became obsessed with making sure Lemuel got credit for creating eggs Benedict. In 1978, Jack became furious about an article that appeared in Bon Appetit crediting Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict as the creators of the dish at Delmonico's. The article did refer to one account of a young man with a hangover at the Waldorf; however, the article did not name the man as Lemuel Benedict but Samuel! Jack was completely enraged, or it could have been all the trans fats and cholesterol in his system! Either way, although this is probably the most unhealthy breakfast you could eat, it is delicious and definitely worthy of special occasions!

The most important part of eggs Benedict is, of course, the Hollandaise sauce! I have previously posted a recipe for Blender Hollandaise, but I think it's empowering to make it successfully by hand! Hollandaise sauce is one of the five French mother sauces, and is believed to date back to the mid-18th century. The name, as it suggests, is a nod to the fine butter and eggs provided by Holland (and the Netherlands) required to make a quality Hollandaise. Not only is Hollandaise sauce delicious with poached eggs, it's also very nice with vegetables (especially asparagus), fish, and even beef! In fact, it is the base for Bearnaise sauce! When making a Hollandaise sauce, it is very important to use the freshest, best-quality eggs you can find. In addition, I like to make the Hollandaise first, and rather than hold it in a warm water bath, I put it in a small thermos (a great tip from Anthony Bourdain), where it will keep for up to an hour! According to James Beard, eggs Benedict was usually topped with "Hollandaise sauce and a slice of truffle," but I rather like a little chopped chives. And finally, there are many recipes for Hollandaise sauce, but this is the one I've been making for years to great success! So don't be scared, you can do it! Lemuel and Jack would be so proud!

Eggs Benedict

Serves 6

For the hollandaise sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup boiling water
Dash of salt, white pepper, and cayenne, to taste

For the eggs Benedict
12 slices Canadian bacon or thin slices of cooked ham
12 eggs
6 English muffins, split, toasted and buttered
Truffle slice or chopped chives (optional)

For the hollandaise sauce
Divide the butter into thirds. Beat egg yolks with lemon juice in the top of a double boiler. (No double boiler, click here!) Add 1/3 of the butter. Place the pan over simmering, NOT BOILING, water; cook, beating constantly, until the sauce starts to thicken; add remaining butter, 1/3 at a time, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Beat in the boiling water and continue stirring until mixture thickens; remove from the water. Stir in the salt, white pepper, and cayenne, to taste. Hold in a warm water bath or a small thermos. (If the sauce separates, whisk in 1-2 tablespoons cream until smooth again. If the sauce curdles, throw it out and start again.)

For the poached eggs
To poach eggs to perfection, bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer with a splash of vinegar. (I highly recommend a non-stick pan, if you have one.) Carefully break in the eggs, or break them into small cups and then gently tilt them into the water, return the water to a simmer, then immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Finishing the dish
Cook the ham in a large skillet until lightly browned, keep warm.

Place two halves of one of the muffins on each plate. Top each muffin half with ham and poached egg. Spoon the sauce evenly over each plate. Garnish with truffle or chives, if you like. Mmmmm!