© 2014 Chris Terrell
When I hear the word "steak," I recall memories of Saturday nights in the summer when my dad would fire up the charcoal grill, and my mom would make a wedge salad with her homemade dressing of mayonnaise and ketchup. I don’t remember the rest of it because I never got the recipe before it was lost.
Steak has always been a dish reserved for special occasions. This holds true for restaurants that specialize in steak, whether you call them “chophouses,” “steakhouses,” or something else.
© 2014 Chris Terrell
Steak with béarnaise sauce.
Heretofore, I’ve been talking about grilling steak. This assumes that you all have access to big-ass grills; Big Green Eggs; etc. Well, there are ways to make a great steak that doesn’t require a grill, especially for those folks like me who live in a downtown loft. (This is also for that one reader who lives in New York.) This is a method of cooking steak that is highly popular in Parisian bistros. I must say that even if you have an outdoor grill, you should give this a try.
Start with your favorite cut of meat, though the beauty of this recipe is that you can use “lesser” cuts of meat such as skirt or flank steak. Bavette is what the French call flank steak.
Thinly slice two shallots and a tablespoon of thyme or rosemary; set aside.
Let the steak sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour. Liberally season with kosher salt and freshly crushed black pepper.
Bring out grandma’s big ol’ cast iron skillet; put it on high heat; and drizzle some canola oil into the pan. When it just barley starts to smoke, place the steak in the pan.
After a few minutes when there is a good sear (the meat should “give” easily), flip it over and—here’s where it gets interesting—place a 1/2 stick of butter on top of the steak. As the butter melts, you want to baste the steak. (To do this, tilt the pan slightly and with a metal spoon, poor the melted butter on the steak in circular motions at a rapid pace. You want to cook the steak with the hot, melted butter.)
After you have done this for about five minutes, flip the steak back to the original side for about two minutes and then set aside to rest. (You will probably need a break too!)
While the steak rests, pour about 1/2 cup of good red wine in the pan and deglaze it. Then place the shallots and cook for about two or three minutes or until soft. Turn the heat down to medium and add the thyme or rosemary and mix it all together. Keep it warm while the steak rests. Pour the sauce over the steaks. Voila!
Could steak be ready for a comeback? I hope so! But then again, it never went away completely.