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It’s hard to go wrong with a classic steak and potatoes dinner. It’s the Tom Hanks of meals: agreeable, A-list, liked by your parents, but still, sort of boring. Here’s a twist, though: compound butter. Beurre composée—the key to many an Escoffier recipe—is a stylish and easy trick for dressing up otherwise straightforward fare. In the recipe below, we made a fast anchovy version for hanger steak, a cut that lends itself especially well to pan cooking. Using anchovies here is like putting on 3D glasses at the movies: They add an instant depth of flavor. Throw in sides of broccoli rabe and fingerling potatoes that have been crisped in olive oil, and you've got a solid dinner.
This is a super wine-friendly meal, save two minor things: the anchovies and the broccoli rabe. Broccoli rabe can get really bitter, which is nice against the rich steak, but can be tough on wine. And anchovies are one of those red flags for pairings—the salty, briny flavor can mess with tannic or higher-alcohol reds (you know, just the sort of thing that you might reach for with steak). We tried this dish with a number of reds, including a Chilean Cabernet and a Côtes du Rhône, but found that a Nero d’Avola from Sicily struck the right tone. The soft tannins and pepper notes provided a nice lift to the buttery steak, and held its own against the blanched broccoli rabe too.
Total Time: 35 minutes
Approximate Food Cost: $25
• 1 pound fingerling potatoes
• 2 pounds trimmed hanger steak (skirt or flank steak make good substitutions)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced into a rough paste
• 2 pounds broccoli rabe, trimmed, stems discarded
1. Place the potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the potatoes cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes and let air-dry.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat until shimmering, and add the potatoes. Shake the pan or stir to coat the potatoes in the hot oil and cook until golden brown on all sides. Place the potatoes in a serving dish, add a dash of sea salt, and set aside until service.
3. Generously salt both sides of the steak. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a large heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the steak for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. (8 minutes total will get you to rare; 12 minutes for medium.)
4. While the steak is cooking, mash the pasted anchovies and lemon juice into the butter. With about 1 minute left of cooking time, place tablespoon-size knobs of the anchovy butter on top of the steak and let them melt. Flip the steaks to coat them in the butter, and finish cooking. Remove them from the heat and place on a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Heat 1 inch of salted water in a medium saucepan. When the water reaches a boil, add the broccoli rabe and toss with a pair of tongs until cooked through. Strain, chop the greens into bite-size pieces, and squeeze a lemon over the greens, if you like.
6. Slice the steak across the grain and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Ed Hendrycks — Ottawa, Canada — January 31, 2011 9:45am ET
Jennifer Fiedler — New York, NY — February 3, 2011 2:05pm ET
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