Last week I got invited to contribute to a cook book. First time ever, bit of an odd request. I do work in technology, but once upon a time I was a line cook - I’ve got a culinary degree and everything.
The real issue is, I don’t really know how to write out recipes for the kinds of food I make for my family and friends. When cooks talk to one another about how they make a particular dish, there’s a short-hand-bordering-on-cryptography that gets used to communicate the technique in the broadest strokes possible. Having to think about how much butter, or even how many minutes something sits in the oven to get to the proper doneness, is just sort of … odd.
So I’m asking for help. I’m going to submit this, but I’d love for as many people as possible to take a crack at it. Even if you could just read it and let me know if it feels complete - did I skip a step? Does a transition from one activity to the next seem weird? I’ll totally take any feedback you’ve got. And if you make the recipe, let me know what you think of the outcome - how can we make the instructions bullet proof, to make sure others get the best outcome possible.
Here goes nothing.
NY STRIP STEAKS WITH FAVA BEANS & MOREL MUSHROOMS
4 8 ounce NY Strip steaks
2 ounces olive oil
4 ounces butter
4 ounces Pinot Noir
8 ounces dark veal or beef stock
1/2 tablespoon demi glace*
2 ounces morel mushrooms
2 ounces peeled** fava beans
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper
* you can substitute a 1/2 ounce of heavy cream instead of the demi, but why would you want to?
** if you’ve never peeled them before, there’s some great tutorial videos online
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 425°F/220°C. You’ll be making the sauce first, and it needs to reduce by nearly two-thirds, so you’ve got some time before you’ll need your oven fully up to temperature. Do yourself and your guests a massive favor and pull your steaks out of the fridge about 20 minutes before they go into the pan. Give them a tiny amount of oil to moisten their surfaces, and then salt and pepper them to your preference. Set them aside and get started on your sauce.
You should be using a Pinot Noir that you would be happy to drink, so pour yourself a glass, and then pour the wine into a medium sized sauce pan. Place it on a burner at medium-high heat; you’re looking to reduce the wine at a good simmer, but don’t boil it. Reduce the wine around three-quarters of the way, about an ounce. You’ll need to eyeball it, but thankfully it’s not an exact science. When it’s at the right place, stir in the stock and reduce it over medium heat. This time you’re looking to reduce by about two-thirds, resulting in about 3 ounces of liquid in the pan. Whisk in the demi glace (or the heavy cream) and stir in a pinch each of salt and pepper with a wooden spoon. You’re looking for a layer of sauce thick enough to leave a light coating on back of your spoon when you remove it. Put the sauce to the side and get ready to cook your steaks.
You’ll be searing your steaks on the stove and then finishing them in the oven. Heat your pan over a burner on high heat. Once hot (and not before) add your olive oil. You’ll know it’s properly heated when it develops a sheen. Once hot, add 3 ounces of butter to the pan - when the bubbling subsides, place your steaks in the pan and sear on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. For extra credit, use tongs to stand the steaks on their fatty side and sear the fat cap. Once seared, transfer the pan to the oven and cook to your desired doneness. Ovens vary, but you can estimate around 5-7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, 12 minutes for medium, and so on. Remove the pan from the oven, and remove the steaks from the pan so they can rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes. You’re going to be heating the sauce back up, so it’s not essential for the meat to be ripping hot when you plate it.
Your steaks are resting, it’s time to bring the final pieces together. Bring your sauce back to the stove and put it over medium heat. Once it begins to simmer, turn off the burner and whisk in your remaining butter (around 1 ounce). When the butter is fully incorporated, add the morels and the peeled fava beans. Stir slowly for 30 seconds and the heat of the sauce will soften them perfectly. Plate the steaks and ladle two spoonfuls of sauce, favas and morels on top of each steak. Enjoy.