The typical move would be to cook the Brussels sprouts in butter until they were totally soft, but here they are only gently steamed to preserve their character and bite – you need something clean to contrast with the sultry Taleggio and the boldly seasoned steak.
Steak with Brussels Sprouts and Taleggio
900g hanger steak, tough sinew removed, cut into 4 portions (ask your butcher to do this)
60ml fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp minced rosemary
about 20 Brussels sprouts
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
180ml Taleggio Sauce (see recipe below)
coarse grinds of black pepper
Let your steak come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Coat all the pieces of steak with a generous layer of salt on all sides, really patting it into the flesh. Let sit for another 30 minutes. It may look as if it’s beginning to dry out, and that’s a good thing; it means you’ll get a better sear.
Meanwhile, mix together the fish sauce, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl.
Trim the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts. Steam them until they are bright green and retain just a bit of crunch, 10-12 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool a bit, then quarter if large and toss them in a bowl with ½ tsp salt and the lemon zest. Set aside.
When you’re ready to cook the steak, heat a large carbon-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the olive oil to the pan, then add the steaks, gently pressing them down to get even contact and a good sear, and let cook for 2 minutes. (You’ll have to do this in two batches if your pan isn’t big enough; or use two pans.) Lacquer each piece with two or three brushes of the fish sauce mixture, then flip. Cook on the second side for 2 minutes, then lacquer with more fish sauce and flip again. After a minute, lacquer with more fish sauce and flip. Cook for another minute, brush again, and flip. If you have an instant-read thermometer, use it to test your steaks’ internal temperature; it should be about 52°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, a cake tester inserted into the interior of the steak for 10 seconds should come out warm. When the steaks are done, let them rest for 5 minutes, ideally propped up on something – like chopsticks laid over a plate – to keep the bottoms from steaming. Set the pan aside.
While the steaks rest, gently warm the Taleggio sauce.
Just before serving, heat the same skillet over medium heat and lightly sear your steaks again to warm them up, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan and slice each steak horizontally.
Before moving to New York, I ran the kitchen at Francis Mallmann’s summer restaurant Patagonia West in the Hamptons. Late at night after my shifts, I’d go to the only place in town that was open: a 7-Eleven. I’d almost always grab one of those taquitos and pump Cheez Whiz all over it. One night toward the end of the season, the clerk, who had seen me perform this ritual many times, smiled at me and said, “My friend, you really love America.”
That is the inspiration for this sauce that we love on steak. It’s also good on any vegetable with a snap to it, like green beans with shaved almonds. Drizzle it over fries, roasted potatoes, or a hot dog.
Makes about 2 cups
225g Taleggio, cold
120ml heavy cream, plus more if needed
Remove the rind from the Taleggio. Cut the cheese into ½-inch cubes and place them in a heatproof bowl.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just begins to simmer, then pour it over the cheese and immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap. As you need a good seal to trap the heat so the cheese melts, it’s actually best to wrap the plastic around the bowl a few times. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and, using an immersion blender, blend the cheese and cream until smooth. Taste and add salt. If the sauce seems too thick, add an additional tablespoon or so of hot cream. You want it to be loose enough that you can spread it onto a plate without it clumping.
You can make this a few days ahead of time and refrigerate it. To reheat it, bring to room temperature first, then place the container in a bowl of hot tap water and stir occasionally until the sauce warms and softens; a bain-marie would be the best way of doing this. You may need to add more hot cream.
Extracted from Estela by Ignacio Mattos (Artisan Books, approx €30.50). Copyright © 2018.
Photographs byMarcus Nilsson.