Let that sink in for a moment. I’m still basking in the meal it was. Mmm…
Seriously, though, a lot of things came together for me cooking that don’t normally happen. Most importantly, everything – meat, broccoli, two sauces – finished together, at the same time, just right. Sauces were the right consistency and didn’t break. Broccoli was tender but not overcooked. Steak was medium rare, pink in the middle but seared just right on the outside. I’m still giddy about it.
First, get together any mise en place and be prepared. The food in the pan is the last 10% of cooking, the other 90% is getting ready. Mince the shallot, chop the parsley, portion the meat, cut the broccoli into florets.
Next, heat everything. The broccoli is steamed, and the water will take time to boil, so go ahead and get it going first. Also, in a small saucepan, put about 3 Tbsp of white wine an 1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar, and bring to a simmer. It’ll take some time to reduce, depending on your heat, so just keep an eye on it and let it reduce until there’s about 1-2 tsp left of a golden syrup. Have a skillet ready for the steaks. Grab any spoons, tongs, whisks, and such you think you’ll need (I managed to use plenty of each).
Water boiling? Showtime. Heat the skillet over high heat until fairly warm, then add a good coating of a neutral high smoke point oil (I used grapeseed) to the skillet. Not enough to fry the steaks, but enough to cover the pan liberally. Let that heat up while you season the steak – in my case, with a “Chicago Steak Seasoning” mix of citrus, salt, pepper, garlic powder, et cetera. When the pan is hot, lay the steaks in and leave them alone for 4-5 minutes. Time is really fickle here, depending on the temperature of your steaks, the thickness of the cut, the strength of the heat source, et cetera. You’re looking for a nice crust to form, for juices to start to appear on the top side of the steak, and basically for the steak to look cooked on the first side.
Flip the steak in the skillet. Now, put the broccoli in a steamer basket over the boiling water – it should finish about the time the steaks are done resting, give or take. Keep an eye on the vinegar/wine so that it doesn’t dry out and burn. Another 4-5 minutes for the steaks, then use your thermometer to check them for doneness. (Seriously. Best meat cooking tool ever.) You want to pull the steaks off the heat around 125F, in this case.
Steaks off the pan. Pour out most of the oil, leaving about a tablespoon, and sauté a minced shallot. Deglaze the pan with cognac (be careful, but remember – fire can be fun), getting up all the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add in about twice as much worcestershire sauce as cognac, bring to a boil, and get that reducing.
Back to finish the beurre blanc. Drop the heat to low, and/or pull the pan from the heat – you want it hot enough to melt butter but no hotter. Chunk by chunk (about 1 Tbsp. at a time, about 6-7 in total), whisk in the butter to the reduced wine and vinegar, adding more as the last bit melts. Stir in parsley. Meanwhile, shake the cognac/worstershire pan every so often while it reduces. When it’s reduced, swirl in a knob (the last 1-2 Tbsp. from the stick) of butter and stir. At this point, I’m whisking butter with my right hand and swirling a pan with my left – how it didn’t all end up on the floor is beyond me. Taste both sauces and adjust seasoning.
You’re done! Mix any juices from the settled meat into the meat sauce. Spoon some on a plate, then lay the sliced meat onto it. Put some broccoli on the plate next to it, and spoon over the beurre blanc. (One sauce under, one sauce over, but it looked good on the plate!) Enjoy!
Like I said, I’m pumped that this came together. Everything cooked right. Everything was seasoned well. Unlike some of my recent dinners, the food looked nice(r) on the plate – still a lot to learn there, but I’m getting there. Yay!!!
Cook, eat, and enjoy!