Three Steaks Are Better Than One

A return to the source of the mighty boletes resulted instead in a bag of gorgeous wild oyster mushrooms, variety being the spice of life and all. And there were also beautiful organic NY strip steaks. And there were ideas. I couldn’t find a winner among the competing ideas, so I declared a tie, and decided to trim and cut each steak into three pieces, then give each one its own sauce. But first, because when I get fancy sometimes dinner is an hour or three late, I whipped some ricotta with black olives and layered it between gently sautéed zucchini. With some caramelized turnips with vanilla on the side- that I originally intended to go with the meat- the little towers made for a nice first course.

Then, quickly, I cooked the mushrooms with garlic and wine, spun some bolted frisée and endive with olive oil in the food processor, and made a roux-based stilton sauce with butter, soymilk, kimchi juice, and truffle oil. (By “quickly” I mean not that quickly.) But once I seared the steaks- cooked for an hour sous-vide at 52˚C- in a pat of smoked duck fat, the three sauces did in fact work for eye and tongue alike. This presentation also eliminated “meat fatigue,” Christine’s name for what happens halfway through a big steak even when it’s very good. Each piece offered enough contrast to keep every bite interesting until all was et, though in future I will season each one differently before they go in the water bath so there’s a deeper level of both contrast (with neighbor steaks) and harmony (with sauces.) For wine, a pleasant wild card in the form of a gift bottle of 1996 Marqués de la Concordia Rioja, which is a nice compromise between old and new winemaking styles; once decanted it got better with each glass and- while not a world-rocker- was an excellent match for this welter-to-middleweight food. I’ll be on a residency next week, and not cooking or posting much, so I wanted to finish the week in fine summer style.

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  1. Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
    July 12

    You have given me inspiration! I will do something like this, only using steaks from three different animals! Lesse, I got antelope, whitetail deer, wild boar … caribou, anyone?

  2. cook eat FRET
    July 12

    hunter – i like your style. it’s tough to one-up peter and i think you’re on the right path here…

    the steaks all sound quite good, but it’s the first course i want…

  3. Heather
    July 14

    Good god man, you shame me.

  4. Zoomie
    July 14

    On your residency, will you be seeing the fruits of your earlier planting labors – the finished flower labyrinth? If so, I’d love to see pictures of that and any other work you produce!

  5. peter
    July 23

    Hank: Show-off. And I say that as a jealous, jealous person.

    Claudia: The first course was wicked; like a gratin but clean as a whistle.

    Heather: Above all else, food, art, and life in general are first and foremost about making other people feel inadequate.

    Zoomie: The labyrinth isn’t flowering yet. Stay tuned…

  6. kittie
    July 30

    when I get fancy sometimes dinner is an hour or three late

    Ha ha ha – ‘ready in half an hour’ has become a joke in my house…

    I’m so impressed with this though – the colours in your second shot are fabulous

  7. peter
    July 31

    Hi Kittie- Yeah, it’s the nature of the beast. I’ve lately taken to whipping out a kid-friendly appetizer to buy myself more time.

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