Beef and Béarnaise

A Manhattan chef's take on this classic combo.


Published:

Grilled New York Strip with Béarnaise Sauce
From Bradley Day, executive chef at Center Cut in New York City
This is Day's take on the classic combo of steak and Béarnaise. He suggests asking your butcher to cut the steaks from the center of the strip, as they are tenderer.
 

For the steak:

4 (10-ounce) New York strip steaks
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 black peppercorns, crushed

To grill the steaks: To grill the steaks: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (350 °F). Season them with salt and pepper and place directly on the grill at a 45-degree angle to the grill bars. After about 2 minutes, rotate them, one at a time, 45 degrees, holding each steak firmly between a spatula (on the bottom) and the flat side of a large grilling fork (on the top to make diamond grill marks.

Turn the steaks once during grilling and repeat process for making grill marks. Grill to the desired degree of doneness, using a meat thermometer (4 minutes per side for rare, 120 125°F; 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, 130-135°F; 6 minutes per side for medium 140-145°F; 7 minutes per side for medium-well 150-155°F; and 8 minutes per side for well done 160°F and above).

Once cooked to your taste, place a steak in the center of each of the 4 dinner plates and serve with the Béarnaise sauce on the side in a sauce boat. Serves 4.

For the Béarnaise sauce:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
4 white peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Pinch of cayenne, plus more to taste

To make the sauce: Fill the bottom of a double boiler halfway up with water, bring to a simmer and keep simmering. Set aside a bowl with 4 ice cubes.

Clarify the butter: melt it in a small saucepan, skim the white foam off the top and remove from the heat. When you see that all the solids have dropped to the bottom, strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. Set the clarified butter aside.

In a in a nonreactive medium-size saucepan set over medium heat, boil the shallots, tarragon and peppercorns in the vinegar and wine until the liquid is reduced in volume to about 1/4 cup. Strain into the top of the double boiler. Whisk in the egg yolks and place atop the simmering water in bottom of the double boiler, making sure that the surface of the water does not touch the upper pot. Whisk constantly. The moment the yolk mixture begins to thicken slightly, remove the top pot and place on a heat-proof cutting board or a damp towel and continue whisking.

Turn off the heat on the stove, but keep the bottom of the double boiler in place. Add the ice cubes to the bottom of the water to cool it a little and return the top of the double boiler with yolk mixture back onto it. Whisk in the melted butter, drizzling it in very slowly. If at any time the sauce looks as if it is about to break (that is, if it looks too oily and like the components are separating) transfer the top of the double boiler back to the work surface and continue whisking to cool it down, or whisk in 1 teaspoon cold water. Still whisking constantly, add the salt and cayenne. When all the butter is incorporated, taste and season with more salt or cayenne as needed. Place in a sauce boat until ready to serve.

Wine Recommendation: David Carreon, regional wine director for China Grill Managemen (which includes Center Cut) would go with a Bordeaux or a California Cab. "It's a creamy sauce, so it elevates the level of fruit in the wine," he says. He particularly likes Atticus John from the Napa Valley. "It's as big as the Bordeaux but the tannins are a little bit lighter and there's a touch more fruit."

 

 

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