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Recipe of the week: Steak with black sesame béarnaise and turnip

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Written by:
Recipe of the week: Steak with black sesame béarnaise and turnip

A béarnaise made of a rich and nutty black sesame seed paste takes this dish to somewhere between Japan and the Middle East. We get the paste from the Japanese market, but we could just as easily reach for black tahini.

Serves 4

For the chilli paste
2 medium-hot red chillis, such as Cherry Bomb, seeded and roughly chopped
Kosher salt
1tsp lemon zest, grated
1tbs fresh lemon juice
2tbs extra virgin olive oil

For the turnips
Kosher salt
4 Japanese turnips (hakurei or Tokyo), scrubbed clean and trimmed
2 purple-top turnips, scrubbed clean and trimmed
1tbs Chardonnay vinegar
1tsp lemon zest, grated

For the steak
900g hanger steak, tough sinew removed, cut into four portions
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves
3tbs white soy sauce (shiro shoyu)
1tbs fish sauce
2tbs olive oil

For the black sesame béarnaise
1tbs white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
¼ small shallot, thinly sliced
1 large egg yolk
Kosher salt
115g unsalted butter, melted
2¼tsp black sesame paste
½tsp activated charcoal powder
Cabernet vinegar
4 anchovy fillets
Grey salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chilli paste

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the chillis until they become a rough paste. Add a pinch of kosher salt to help this along. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, then add the olive oil and stir to combine.

For the turnips

Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, halve the Japanese turnips lengthwise, then cut into quarter-inch wedges.

Cut the purple-top turnips into quarter-inch thick, bitesize pieces. Combine the vinegar, a pinch of salt, and the lemon zest in a medium bowl.

Add the purple-top turnips to the boiling water and simmer until just warmed through, about 30 seconds. Drain, add the warmed turnips to the vinegar mixture, and toss gently to coat. The Japanese turnips remain uncooked.

Make the steak

Let the steaks come to room temperature, for about 30 minutes. Coat all the pieces with a generous layer of kosher salt and black pepper, really patting it into the flesh.

Halve the garlic cloves and using a mortar and pestle, mash them until you have pulpy strips. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the white soy sauce, fish sauce, and one tablespoon of the olive oil.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large carbon-steel or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, then add the steaks. You will have to do this in batches if your pan isn’t big enough.

Cook, flipping regularly and lacquering with two or three brushes of the white soy mixture between each flip, until a pale brown crust starts to develop and the internal temperature is about 52°C, about four minutes. If you don’t have a meat 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 10 minutes, ideally propped up on something – like chopsticks laid over a plate – to keep the bottoms from steaming. Set the pan aside.

Make the béarnaise

While the steaks rest, combine the wine and shallot in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the wine has reduced by half. Strain the reduction into a deep bowl and cool slightly.

Add the egg yolk to the reduced wine, season with kosher salt and combine with an immersion blender or whisk. Slowly drizzle in the hot melted butter, blending or whisking constantly, until the sauce is emulsified and thickened. Stir in the black sesame paste and the activated charcoal powder, if using. Season to taste with Cabernet vinegar and kosher salt, and, if necessary, thin the sauce with a few dashes of water. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of warm water to keep warm.

Just before serving, heat the steak skillet over medium heat and lightly sear the steaks again to warm them up, about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the heat and rub each steak with some of the chilli paste. Slice each steak horizontally in half into two planks.

To serve, set a pair of steak slices on each of four plates, cut side up. Shingle the Japanese turnips over one piece of steak, then line up the purple-top turnips alongside both pieces.

Lay an anchovy fillet over the meat and turnips. Lightly season the meat with grey salt and pepper, and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Spoon a generous dollop of black sesame béarnaise onto each plate.

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