Classic Bistro Steak, Reinvented

Yahoo FoodMarch 18, 2014

Rochelle Bilow

This recipe reminds us of the adage, “Things don’t have to be bad to be better.” Our version of supper takes a bistro classic—steak with onion rings—and lightens things up with the addition of watercress and a savory-sweet hazelnut vinaigrette. The onion rings get a makeover, too, with apple cider vinegar and buttermilk turning one of our favorite sides into a light, ultra-crispy showstopper. As for the beef? Intensely flavorful hanger steak gets the royal treatment with salt, pepper, and quick sear. This is simplicity at its most elegant.

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Vinaigrette, steak and sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut, walnut, or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1½ pound hanger steak, center membrane removed, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dry green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Onion rings and assembly:

  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 3½ cups)
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced ⅛” thick, rings separated
  • 6 cups watercress leaves with tender stems

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Vinaigrette, steak and sauce:

Whisk hazelnut oil and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Set vinaigrette aside. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook 6–8 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes. While steak rests, cook butter and shallot in same skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until shallot is softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add thyme and peppercorns. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar and ½ cup water and simmer until flavors meld and sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in mustard; season with salt and pepper.

Onion rings and assembly:
Fit a medium saucepan with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 3”. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°.

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Meanwhile, mix buttermilk and vinegar in a shallow bowl. Place flour in another bowl or baking dish; season with salt and pepper. Toss onion rings in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and transfer to a wire rack. Working in batches, dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl; toss again in flour.

Working in 2 or 3 batches and maintaining temperature of oil, fry onion rings until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per batch. Let drain on paper towels; season with salt.

Toss watercress with reserved vinaigrette. Thinly slice steak against the grain. Serve steak with sauce, watercress, and onion rings.

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