Hanger Steak

And now for something completely different. What’s even closer to my heart than real estate?  Food.

A hanger steak is a cut of beef steak which is said to “hang” from the diaphragm of the steer.[

That’s a meaty description. There’s only one per steer and since it “hangs” close to the kidneys, it’s said to be particularly flavorful.

But cook it for a minute too long and it gets as tough as the hide from which it was parted.

These days, it’s becoming easier to find.  I picked some up at Whole Foods in Noe Valley for around $8.99 a pound.

French bistros serve hanger steak — onglet —  with a shallot sauce, pommes frites, and a pichet of rot-gut red.  My version takes about 10 minutes from refrigerator to table.  The challenge is to really believe it’s cooked after just 90 seconds per side.

Hanger Steak with Shallots

Ingredients (serves 2)
6 oz of hanger steak, in one or two pieces
1 large shallot, finely chopped
balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp beef concentrate
1/3 cup of water
2 or 3 tbs butter, cut into 3 pieces
non-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper
a few slices of French or Italian batard

Warm a couple of plates in the oven. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Add around a tablespoon of oil to a heavy non-stick pan and heat until almost smoking.  Add the meat and count to 90 – slowly.  Flip and do the same on the other side. Take out the warm plates, put on the slices of bread and place the meat on top of the bread.  Return to the oven. Lower the heat to medium, toss the shallots into the dry pan and stir constantly for about minute until the shallots are just soft and not burned.

Add a long splash of balsamic vinegar to the shallots and stir quickly. The sauce should get sticky almost immediately.  Add the water and beef concentrate and continue stirring for a minute or two while the sauce reduces.  Lower the heat and stir in the pats of butter one by one.  Pour over the meat and serve.

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