It has been weeks of me teasing the blogophere with this picture.
The time has come to share the recipe and lessons of making it. You now have the tools (or recipes) it takes to make the Veal Stock which in turn helps you make the Red Wine Jus, which is a nice complement to this recipe- actually, a beautiful finishing note that I personally would not want to live without when eating this. But I am a bit eccentric about my sauces, so if you must do without the Red Wine Jus, this will still be delicious.
We had two unbelievable pieces of skirt steak that we picked up at Marczyk (pretty amazing meats there btw). It was THE best skirt steak we had in a long long time. The cut is cheap, tender, and enormously flavorful. Cooked right, it is better than your best rib eye and more flavorful than your finest fillet mignon.
If you were in Paris, this dish would be called Bavette à la Bordelaise. And if you were in Bordeaux, you would be in the city that inspired the “bordelaise.” The bordelaise is a sauce traditionally made with red wine, bone marrow an shallots as well as demi-glace.
But wherever you are, the bavette part of the title refers to the cut of meat and is generally, in this recipe, skirt steak. Ideally, your butcher will be able to give you the part of the skirt steak that you need- the outside of it which is thicker and more uniform. The inside of the skirt steak will not stand up to the pan searing heat nearly as good as the thick outside does. Hanger steak appears to be thrown into Bavette recipes as well, but stick with the skirt steak- the outside part if possible.
The Bavette à la Bordelaise is the lighter and fresher sister of Steak Frites. The herb butter sauce is replaced by the red wine jus. This allows the potentially heavy fatty pan seared beef to be lightened up by the brightness of the ever-s0-slightly tangy red wine jus. And, at least in this recipe, the frites are replaced by a fresh watercress salad.
I made this for dinner for two people. The ingredients below will only feed two. The other thing to keep in mind is that you can’t “save” this as leftovers as the dish depends too much on being fresh out of the pan. But you can plan on making it two nights in a row and having some of your ingredients pre-cut from the first night. We did that.
Steak: two 8 to 10 ounce pieces of trimmed outside skirt steak, ¼ cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 cups thinly sliced shallots, 2 tablespoons minced thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper.
Salad: 1-2 ounces watercress, large stems removed, 2 teaspoons minced shallots, 2 teaspoons minced parsley, 1 teaspoon mince chives, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon fresh lemon juice.
PLUS ¼ cup Red Wine Jus.
Other helpful tools, etc- a nice large heavy skillet to sear the meat- large enough to hold both pieces of meat, but you can also cook them in batches without any concern.
Meat and shallots
If you buy your skirt steak the day before you plan to cook it (or even a few hours before), I recommend seasoning it with salt and pepper and refrigerating until ready to use. It is not the end of the world if you don’t do this and Keller does not have this step in his recipe, but I find it to be helpful as far as the tenderness the meat achieves. Either way, before cooking, make sure the skirt steak is generously seasoned with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Heat your nice heavy skillet on medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil and when the oil gets hot, add half of the butter and swirl around to melt and brown it.
Add the meat and sear for about 1 ½ minutes or until nicely browned.
Turn and baste the meat with the oil/butter pan juices. Allow to cook/brown on the other side probably another 1 ½ minute.
Transfer the meat to a baking sheet and reserve while you cook the shallots.
Heat the skillet with remaining oil/butter and pan juices on medium heat. Add the shallots to the pan, toss in the oil/butter, and cook for about 2 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the remaining butter and the thyme. Reduce the heat and cook until the shallots are completely soft and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes to caramelize.
Stir in juices that may have accumulated on the baking sheet from the steaks then spoon half of the shallots on top of each piece of meat. Place in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until the meat is medium-rare.
Salad- toss the watercress in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a splash of fresh lemon juice.
Serve the steak with half of the Red Wine Jus on each piece of meat and alongside half the salad.
[Fun fact about watercress- apparently, a good serving of it is a nice cure for a hangover. Who knew!
Serve immediately. And come back to the blog soon!