Some pine for the perfect storm, I hunger for the perfect meal.
I spend hours of the day and sometimes of the night exploring and obsessing about ingredients and flavor combinations to create a flawless meal to share with people, no matter if I’m conceptualizing for one of my more intricate events or a laidback dinner with friends.
Some might think of it as OCD, I call it love for both scrumptious food and dedication to my guests.
Elegant, no frills, standing up, meat, vegetarian, kids, no kids, celebratory, winter, summer, only a nosh. The possibilities are endless.
Then, there are certain times in life when nothing will do but a steak.
When steak is king, a vast selection flows in to my brain while I go through the different textures, flavors and degrees of tenderness. Rib eye, sirloin, t-bone, dry aged, Fiorentina, Porterhouse, these are all cuts with merits and singular degrees of juiciness and oral pleasure.
If I want flavor and texture, one cut is firmly lodged in my mind and that’s undeniably flap steak. And since the name it’s a bit unappealing, you can add a bit of je ne sais quoi and call it Bavette like the French, or go south of the border and refer to it as Fajitas. I name it my favorite.
And I’m not the only one. Before becoming a darling of the hipster chefs in Brooklyn, it was known as the butcher best-kept secret.
The Bavette is similar to skirt and flank in that it comes from the less tender regions of the animal. Often cheaper than more popular cuts, this little underdog of the beef world has a wonderful meaty flavor and a fine texture.
It demands a good marinade, high heat quick grilling, a mandatory slice against the grain at an angle, and resting time.
This is a steak I would serve to my close friends, at boy’s night or perhaps the poker crew but I’m certain it would impress any diehard foodie hanging around.
My marinade of choice for Bavette is a whiskey, honey, coffee and garlic marinade. Salty and slightly bitter from the espresso powder but with a hint of sweetness from the honey, it enhances the already powerful flavor of the, if cooked right, charred but tender meat.
I like to serve the steak, medium rare, sliced, with a caramelized onion marmalade I have learned to make at Ritz in London that I adore for its sweetness and silky texture and a simple but bright and slightly vinegary salsa verde. Nothing else.
Except, speaking of talented hipsters, a glass of my friend Sarah’s whiskey from Van Brunt Stillhouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn that I like to use for the marinade as well and of course good bread for mopping up the juices.
If you cannot find Bavette steak, a flat iron, a flank or a skirt steak would be a beautiful and equally tasty substitutes.
A generous helping of coffee affogato could end the evening well, making this, in my mind, a perfect meal and for others a fun poker night.
If you want to learn more about how to prepare and cook steak come by May 31st at the Sustainable Food and Farm Expo at Audubon Greenwich where I’ll be doing 3 demonstrations during the day and using some great cheaper cuts from the skillful and renowned Fleisher’s Craft Butchery.
The Farm Expo will be from 10 am to 5 pm and it will showcase twenty food exhibitors and vendors plus talks, demonstrations, and tastings with a wide range of experts every thirty minutes. The Sustainable Food & Farm Expo is a production of Audubon Greenwich, the Fairfield Green Food Guide, and Strawberry and Sage.
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