Monday, October 26, 2009

Panfried Skirt Steaks with Red Wine Béarnaise Sauce

From Tips Cooks Love: Over 500 Tips, Techniques, and Shortcuts That Will Make You a Better Cook!, by Sur La Table, and Rick Rodgers

Serves 4

Skirt steak is one of the most flavorful cuts and can be quickly panfried in a skillet on the stove top. The sophisticated and easy béarnaise sauce—it’s made in a blender—gives the steak a nice touch of class. When you cook the steak, be sure to turn on the range hood to avoid smoking up the kitchen.

• 4 (7-ounce) skirt steaks
• 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• ¼ cup hearty red wine, such as Cabernet-Shiraz blend
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
• ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
• Kosher salt

Trim a few pieces of fat from the steaks and reserve. Mix together the salt and pepper, and season the steaks all over with the mixture. Let the steaks stand at room temperature while you make the sauce.

To make the béarnaise sauce, combine the wine, vinegar, shallots, tarragon, and coarsely ground pepper in a small, nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Reserve the solids in the sieve.

Put the egg yolks and strained wine mixture in a blender. In a saucepan, bring the butter to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot butter into a heatproof glass measuring cup. Skim the foam off the surface of the butter. With the blender running, slowly add the hot butter through the hole in the lid, leaving the milk solids in the measuring cup. It should take about 1 minute to add the butter. Then uncover the blender, add the reserved solids in the sieve, re-cover, and pulse just to combine. Season with salt. Transfer to the top part of a double boiler and keep warm for up to 30 minutes. (Or transfer the sauce to a warmed widemouthed Thermos and keep warm for up to 2 hours.)

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the reserved beef fat and use tongs to wipe a thin coating of fat over the entire bottom of the skillet. Remove and discard the fat. Add the steaks and cook, turning once, for about 5 minutes total for medium-rare, or until they are nicely browned on both sides and feel somewhat resilient when pressed in the center.

Transfer each steak to a dinner plate. Spoon the sauce into a serving bowl. Serve the steaks hot, and pass the sauce at the table.

Tips for Skirt Steak with Béarnaise Sauce

• A cast-iron skillet creates a beautiful crust on steaks.
• Grease the skillet with some of the beef fat.
• Keep béarnaise sauce warm in a double boiler or in a widemouthed Thermos.
• Use a nonreactive saucepan to cook the acidic ingredients for the sauce.

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