Sous Vide Steak with Caper-Anchovy Butter and Italian Green Beans

Thickness matters. It’s not just about portion control because without an adequately thick steak, it’s very difficult to get that perfect contrast between exterior and interior. Start with good quality rib-eye or strip steaks that are 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick (ours was 1 3/4″), and weigh in at around 1 1/2 pounds.

Very thin steaks will tend to overcook before they can finish developing a nice crust, even over the hottest fire you can build. With sous vide in particular, using a thicker steak will help you maintain more of that perfectly cooked interior during the searing process.

So the question begs, which cooking option will you use to make the steak for two: in a sous vide bath, cast iron skillet or grill? Cooking steak the traditional way, in a cast iron skillet or on the grill, leaves lots of room for error, and an over- or undercooked steak is a big mistake to make when there’s a prime-grade piece of beef on the line. Plus, the fact that it was Winter with snow on the ground sort of dissuaded us from grilling…

Sous vide cooking takes all of the guesswork out of the process, delivering steaks that are cooked to precisely the temperature you like each and every time. Not only that, because sous vide is such a gentle cooking process, you’ll be able to achieve steaks that are evenly cooked from edge to edge. As you might have guessed by now, we chose the sous vide method.

In a water bath, the doneness of a steak is by and large determined by the maximum internal temperature it reaches during cooking. For instance, so long as a strip steak does not rise above 130°F (54°C), it will never cook beyond medium-rare. With traditional cooking methods, there is a very short window of time during which your meat is perfectly cooked. A minute too long will mean overcooked meat. With sous vide cooking, on the other hand, that window of time is stretched into hours, which means your steak will be hot and ready to go whenever you’re ready to sear and serve it.

Remember this: It’s better to cook one large steak for every two people than to cook two smaller steaks.

Sous Vide Steak with Caper-Anchovy Butter

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the Compound Butter

  • 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Steak

  • 1.5 lbs. rib-eye or NY strip steak, 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, split in half
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Mash the anchovy fillet into a paste on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife. Sprinkle the garlic with a pinch of kosher salt and mash it into a paste.
  2. Put the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high in 10-second bursts until it just begins to melt. Mash the butter with a fork and stir in the anchovy, garlic, parsley, capers, lemon zest, and a few grinds of black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Fill a large pot about 3 quarters of the way full with water. Attach a sous vide unit and set for 129°.
  4. While the water is heating, salt and pepper the steak and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Put steak in a gallon ziploc bag, add garlic, thyme bay leaf and olive oil. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible and massage contents to distribute evenly.
  5. Place the bag in the heated water once it reaches temperature. Allow to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Remove steak from bag.
  6. Heat a dry cast iron or carbon steel skillet over high heat. Sear the steak until you achieve a nice crust on all sides and edges; about two minutes per side.
  7. Cut the steak at a diagonal against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices on a moated cutting board to catch the juices.
  8. Move the sliced steak to a serving platter, drizzle with accumulated juices and serve the sliced steak topped with dollops of the butter, passing around any remaining butter.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic

This is a speedy version of slow-cooked Italian green beans, elegant in its simplicity. Sauté the haricots verts quickly to preserve their delicate texture, then toss them with a sauce of plum tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

Italian Green Beans with Tomatoes and Balsamic

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. haricots verts, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, roughly chopped and puréed in a food processor
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano,for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until bright green and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge in a large bowl of ice water. Let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and vinegar, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the mixture reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beans to the pan and cook until warmed through and coated with the tomato mixture, about 1 minute.
  5. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper if needed; garnish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired. Serve immediately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

This recipe is excerpted from Big Buy Cooking.

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