In this Polar Vortex of our Discontent, we've been hunkering down at home, tinkering in the kitchen and doing our best to keep warm. It's been a soup-and-stew-and-sweet-potatoes kind of week. But we've also been trying a few things that are more out of the ordinary. And minute steak is definitely out of the ordinary for us.
Minute steak -- or cube steak -- is definitely a throwback. When's the last time you saw a minute steak recipe in a current food magazine? We can't recall seeing one in the last six years, and we read a lot of magazines. The minute steak lives in another era for us, the kind of dish Betty might have made for Don, back in happier times.
And though we're intrigued by minute steaks (this is our first experience cooking one), we were more drawn to this recipe because it uses "Montreal steak spice," which is a new concept to us. Our interest was also piqued by the Herbed Anchovy Butter -- mostly because we didn't think it sounded like a great idea.
But in the spirit of experimentation, we made a double batch and had Zach's parents over for dinner during a recent visit.
It's dead simple: 2 tablespoons each of paprika, pepper, salt; 1 tablespoon each of granulated garlic, granulated onion, coriander, dill and red pepper flakes. If your spice cabinet is overflowing, this is a good recipe to help you start whittling it down.
And then there's the Herbed Anchovy Butter. Anchovy haters: This recipe is not going to woo you. It is sharp (butter, anchovy, shallot, vinegar and herbs) but we thought it was totally delicious when paired with steak.
And then there's the steak itself. This recipe, by Hugue Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse (in Queens! The Montreal of New York!), calls for top round that's cut crosswise and pounded into 1/4-inch thickness. We did our best here, but we're not sure we pounded it quite thin enough. By the time the steaks cooked, they were definitely thicker than a quarter inch. But still, they were delicious, well seasoned, and -- conveniently for when you're cooking for guests -- they only cook for 30 to 40 seconds per side.
The four of us really enjoyed this meal. The wonderfully seasoned steak, paired with the flavor bomb of the anchovy butter, made for a rich, delicious meal on a cold Saturday night. Does this mean a minute steak renaissance is underway at Bitten Word HQ? Doubtful. Well, maybe. But we'd readily recommend this dish for minute steak fans (or minute steak wannabe fans).
This recipe, incidentally, is from Food and Wine's February feature about "America's Best New Steak House Recipes." Red meat/steak house sides fan shouldn't miss it.
Are you a secret (or not-so-secret) minute steak fan? Have you even ever cooked one?
We'd love to hear what you think.
Total Time: 30 minutes
NOTES FROM ZACH AND CLAY
Rather than purchase Montreal steak spice, we made our own using a recipe we found on Chow.com
2 tablespoons chopped anchovy fillets in oil, drained
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup equal parts chopped parsley, tarragon and chives
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 to 16 ounces top round—sliced crosswise into 4 slices, each slice pounded to a 1/4-inch thickness
Montreal steak spice, for seasoning (available at supermarkets, or you can make your own)
1. In a skillet, combine the anchovies, shallot and vinegar. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the anchovies break down and the vinegar has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mash the anchovies with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add the butter, herbs and pepper and mix well. Scrape the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a log or pack into an airtight container.
2. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until smoking. Season the steaks on both sides with the Montreal steak spice. Working in 2 batches, sear the steaks over high heat for 30 to 40 seconds per side until well browned outside but rare. Transfer the steaks to a rack set over a baking sheet.
3. On a serving plate, stack the steak slices with a big pat of the anchovy butter between each slice. Top with a big pat of butter and serve immediately, dividing the stack at the table.
MAKE AHEAD The anchovy butter can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.