Next Class
9th January 2024 - Aaron Bulging
Culinary Masterclass - Taster - Steak Pommes
Karl's Bavette Steak Aaron's Bavette Steak
Starting a new course in which we master the Culinars under Aaron's expert tutelage.
Very excited.
We kick off with Bavette and Hasselbacks - like French Steak Frites, but Pommier.

Steak and Potatoes. In French!
Bavette Steak with Shallot Sauce
The meat of the matter.
Hasselback Potatoes
Poncy pommes.
Charred Broccoli
It's not burned. It's charred!

Bavette with Shallot Sauce
main meat
For these flash-fried steaks you use the thin, flat, lean, loosely textured, active muscles from under the cow's rib cage:
  • Onglet, also known as hanger steaks, butcher's steak or skirt is a v-shaped cut from the cow's diaphragm, and tends to have the stronger flavour, and a tendon running through it.
  • Bavette or flank is taken from the abdominal muscles further towards the cow's back legs.
These steaks should be seared quickly on both sides (a couple of minutes only), well rested, served rare or medium-rare, and only salted after cooking.
They are often served with fries as Steak Frites in France.
Aaron recommends leaving the raw flank steak coated in olive oil overnight to tenderise, though other marinades are common especially when barbecuing.

Aaron demonstrated a fiddly but entertaining method of preparing onions for finely dicing. It involves laboriously separating the onion's layers and peeling away the thin skin or membrane from each leaf, before julienning then mincing them.
This gives a much finer, cleaner result that more easily melts away in sauces or jus. But let's face it, we're only going to keep the technique for very special occasions.
I didn't, for instance, use it here.

Serves 2

Mince 2 shallots and 2 garlic cloves. Peel, de-seed and chop 3 tomatoes.
Oil an un-seasoned bavette or onglet steak.

Fry the Steak:
Heat a heavy pan until searing hot, drizzle in a small amount of oil and lay in the oiled steak. Fry the first side without moving until it is coloured at the edges and has released itself from the pan. Season and flip the steak, allow to colour on the second side then throw in a handful of thyme and rosemary and a large chunk of butter. Baste the steak with the herby butter as it foams for a minute then place the steak onto a warming plate and pour over the herbs and butter. Leave to rest while you make the sauce.

In the same oily pan add the minced shallots and sweat over medium heat until they soften without browning.
Add the minced garlic and after another minute de-glaze with a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Bubble until most of the liquid evaporates then scoop everything out into a bowl. Wipe out the pan with kitchen roll.

Make the Sauce:
Re-heat the pan over a medium heat, add a large knob of butter, swirl until it foams and then begins to brown (without burning). Add the fried shallot mixture and swirl, then add a generous pour of double cream (perhaps 250ml). Single cream is likely to split. Bubble until it reduces and thickens, stirring often, then add the chopped tomatoes. If you over-thicken the sauce you should thin it with water, not more cream which will only make the situation worse. Add all the buttery juices from the steak, season with salt and black pepper and finish with a handful of minced chives.

Scrape the herbs off the steak and discard them, reheat the steak briefly in the sauce, then slice it about finger-width at a 45° angle to the vertical (so the slices are wider). I would recommend cutting across the grain, or at least on a bias, though Aaron doesn't believe that's necessary.

Arrange the sliced steak together with hasselback potatoes and charred broccoli on plates and serve dressed with the sauce.
I may have slightly overcooked my steak, under-thickened my sauce, and burned my broccoli. But apart from that it wasn't half bad!

Hasselback Potatoes
side veg vegan staple
Although other cooks often position chopsticks or wooden spoons to prevent their knife from accidentally slicing all the way through the potatoes, Aaron sneers at such props.

Serves 1

Wash the whole, unpeeled, potatoes then make a series of crossways cuts very close together their whole length going almost (but definitely not quite) all the way through. Start at one end, work into the middle. Turn the potato and work from the other end to meet again in the middle.

Rub very thoroughly with oil, making sure to work a little into the slits, and bake them cuts-side up at Gas Mark 6 for about 30 minutes, or until golden outside and fluffy inside.
Salt immediately.
Keep warm until required.
Very pretty, especially if you keep the cuts tightly packed.

Charred Broccoli
side veg vegan
The simplest recipe ever!

Serves 1

Carefully remove all the tiny non-floret leaves from 4 tenderstem broccoli, er, stems these will turn brown on cooking and will muddy any sauce or cooking water and cut them at a bias towards the head. Discard the rest of the stalk.

Press the broccoli stems onto a scorching hot griddle or dry frying pan for a minute or two until they lightly char in spots. You can use a heavy pan to press them flat while they colour.

Their bitter edge can be a fine counterpoint to an otherwise sweet cream sauce.