I much prefer hanger steak, with its strong, beefy flavor and pleasing chewiness, to more popular cuts such as tenderloin, which I find bland and even kind of mushy. But unlike with more mild and tender cuts, you can’t just throw a little seasoning on hanger steak and slap it on the grill. This recipe requires some advance planning, since hanger steak is best when it is marinated before cooking. A bold marinade complements the assertively flavored meat and tenderizes it a bit as well. Here I use a red wine with big flavor both to marinate the meat and in a reduced sauce—which incorporates the marinade after the meat is grilled. This way nothing—including all that great flavor—goes to waste. Demi-glace is a highly reduced, flavorful sauce based on dark veal stock. It is a time-consuming process to do at home, so I recommend buying good-quality demi-glace (see Sources, page 345).
Use the widest saucepan you have to make the sauce. The wider it is, the more quickly the sauce will reduce to the proper consistency.
For the Marinade
2 cups red wine, preferably cabernet or pinot noir
⅓ cup sliced shallots
4 garlic cloves, sliced
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
Leaves from two 4-inch rosemary sprigs, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 pounds/907 grams hanger steak, trimmed into evenly sized steaks
For the Sauce
2 cups red wine, preferably cabernet or pinot noir
6 allspice berries, coarsely pounded in a mortar with a pestle
One 2-inch rosemary sprig
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ to 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, ground medium fine
1½ teaspoons brown sugar, plus more if necessary
½ cup demi-glace
To prepare the marinade, in a large ziplock bag, combine the wine, shallots, garlic, ginger, rosemary, and pepper. Seal the bag and shake it to blend the marinade. Place the steaks in the bag, seal it tightly, and massage the bag to thoroughly coat the meat with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, to prepare the sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the wine, allspice, rosemary, vinegar, pepper, brown sugar, and salt to taste and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is reduced to one-quarter of its original volume (roughly ⅔ cup), about 30 minutes. Stir in the demi-glace. (The sauce can be prepared to this point up to 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
When ready to grill the steaks, prepare a high-heat grill.
While the grill heats, remove the steaks from the bag; reserve the marinade. Pat the steaks thoroughly dry with paper towels. Season with salt. Set aside.
If necessary, bring the sauce back to a simmer over medium heat. Add the reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency (the sauce should coat the back of a spoon), about 20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and/or brown sugar if necessary.
While the sauce simmers, grill the steaks for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, or the desired doneness. Remove the steaks from the grill, transfer to a cooling rack, and let rest for about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, strain the sauce and discard the solids.
Thinly slice the steaks against the grain. Serve with the sauce.
Cooking Time: About 1 hour / Inactive Time: 4 to 24 hours for marinating
No bones left unturned in Brodo, A Bone Broth Cookbook ( Clarkson Potter, December 2015).
Since it's May 30th as I am writing this I should mention 'End of the Month Broth' (page 93) as a starter recipe.
Yet as Marco Canora tells it, the vision for 'Brodo' came to light after he stared at this window at his restaurant 'Hearth' for eleven years.
The author also confides that he ' begun drinking bone broth on a regular basis once I realized how much better it made me feel than the endless cups of coffee i'd been in the habit of consuming to lift me out of the afternoon doldrums.'
Visits to Union Square farmers' market helped the author come up with a menu.
Broth was to be offered as a stand alone beverage not a base for soups or other dishes.
Some ingredients like fresh turmeric are chosen for their health benefits, in this case 'anti-inflammatory' according to Marco Canora.
He even suggests adding a few shavings of it to tea and smoothies.
Other finishing touches that author offers are calabtian chili oil and red pepper flake oil.
Top among practical tips offered to present and future broth makers is 'don't overfill your pot'.
Cheapest and easiest 'how to find bones' options is to 'save leftover bones and whole carcasses from all chicken, duck, turkey, beef, pork, lamb and fish you cook'...
Marco Canora encourages us to make broth with mixed bones but reminds us 'to keep bones from fish and shellfish separate from meat bones'.
We are also encouraged to try 'the 3-day bone broth reset' (details on page 50) to clean our body.
To conclude try the 'polpettone' recipe on page 85 using leftover boiled meat from 'Hearth Broth' to make fried mini meatballs.
Making broth is part of no waste cooking after all.
(* My notes on 'Brodo' could not have happened without a review copy kindly sent by Blogging for Books...)
After a winter hiatus since northern European Edinburgh piece, 10 Do's and Don'ts return by traveling south to Athens as in Athens, Greece not Georgia. We owe this guided tour of Athens to Alexandra Stratou.
Alexandra is the author of Cooking with Loula, Greek Recipes from my Family to Yours (Artisan Books/ May 3, 2016). She self-published the original edition of Cooking with Loula, called Cooking to Share after a Kickstarter campaign in 2013).
Do’s and Don’ts Athens By Alexandra Stratou
Take one of the thematic city tours with Big Olive to learn more about Greek art, architecture, literature, history, cuisine and contemporary culture on foot.
Go to the Varvakios market to scope out their fresh fish, meat, and vegetables, and then have lunch at Diporto, one of the most epic restaurants in town. Just look for the unmarked restaurant with two doors and a fixed menu of tomato salad, chickpeas, and fish.
Go to the temple of Poseidon in Sounio around sunset; life will pause for you to marvel in the beauty.
Buy a souvlaki from Kostas, eat a koulouri (round sesame bread with a hole in it) in the street, and order the lamb chops at Elias in Thissio.
Visit the Acropolis Museum and the Cycladic Museum to get your dose of the ultimate ancient Greek cultural achievements. For some early 20th century Greek art, visit the Ghika’s exhibition at Benaki Museum and explore the contemporary art scene at the Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery.
Watch a performance at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus – the seats are decidedly uncomfortable, but how many times in your life will you watch a performance in such an ancient and beautiful place?
Sit at a coffee shop for hours watching passers by. Simply enjoy it.
Say “hi” to Stamatis at Ellinika Kaloudia and take a piece of Greece home with you, in the form of honey, nuts, cheese, wine, or olive oil.
Don’t come to Athens for a day, come for four and really get to know it!
Don’t take a cab from the airport. Go to syntagma with the train or X95 and then take a cab from there to get you where you are going. If you do take a cab make sure the driver turns the meter on and pay exactly what is written on the meter.
Don’t worry, you are not alone: everybody speaks English and is willing to help you.
Don’t feel obliged to buy flowers from gypsies or give money to beggars.
Don’t be deceived by the chaotic façade of Athens, explore the small streets of the city and don’t be afraid to get lost.
Don’t shy away from drinking the local tsipouro you may be offered free before a meal. It is super strong; sip it, don’t down it!
Don’t think that because you are in Athens you are confined to the city. Go on a day trip to Hydra, take a two-hour bus ride to Sounio along the coast, visit a vineyard thirty minutes away (Papagiannakos), climb a mountain.
Don’t be lured into the tourist traps; treat Athens as you would your own city. Don’t take the easy choice in terms of restaurants because you will likely end up eating the worst version of Greek food and that would make me sad.
Don’t venture to the neighbourhood of Monastiraki. Take a long walk around Plaka, instead!
This is only a taste of Athens—there is so much more for you to discover!
Thanks Alexandra for sharing your 10 Do's and Don'ts as Athens celebrates Greek Orthodox Easter...
(* Illustrations, top to bottom, Staicase from Big Olive Walks Facebook page, Kostas Souvlaki from Why Athens, Logo of Benaki Museum from their Facebook page, outdoor movie theater Cine Thissio from their site, Papagiannakos vineyard from their site, Kiki de Grece wine bar from their Facebook page)
I always preferred sautéing or roasting asparagus until I started growing it in my garden. I don’t know if it was the proximity of garden to grill that provided a push in this direction, but from the first time I grilled asparagus, it has been my favorite way to cook it. I love the method here in particular because you can prepare everything several hours ahead of time so that it’s ready to toss on the grill once it’s hot. (Note that on a day when the grill isn’t lit, you can go back to my old ways and sauté the asparagus in canola oil in a wide pan over high heat or roast it in a 425°F oven.)
If you don’t grow your own, truly fresh asparagus can be hard to find. Choose asparagus bunches that are standing upright with their stems in water. The base of the stems should not be shriveled or dry. The tips should be stiff and tight, with no moist or mushy sections. Be sure to clean asparagus thoroughly. The shoots grow straight up out of the ground, and lots of dirt can hide in the tight leaves at the top of each spear.
2 bunches pencil asparagus (about 2 pounds/107 grams), washed and dried (see note)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
½ teaspoon chile flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Minced zest and juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced serrano chile
Prepare a hot grill. Place a grill basket on the grill to heat.
Trim the asparagus so that the spears are 4 to 6 inches long. Place the asparagus in a bowl.
Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add the canola oil, and when it starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. Cook, stirring and shaking the pan, until the mustard seeds pop, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pour the mustard seeds and oil over the asparagus. Add the chile flakes and season with salt and pepper. Pour over 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil and toss until well coated. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil with the lemon zest and juice, shallots, ginger, and chile. Set aside. (Everything can be done up until this point up to 2 hours in advance and set aside at room temperature.)
Place the asparagus in the hot grill basket and cook, shaking the basket occasionally, until crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the asparagus to a serving dish. Pour the lemon–olive oil mixture over it and mix well. Serve.
Asparagus needs thorough rinsing to get rid of all the sand that can hide in its tight leaves and tips. To wash it well, place the asparagus tips down in a cylindrical container, such as a wine bucket or a thermos. Fill the container with cold water and let stand for 20 minutes, periodically shaking the asparagus to get the dirt out. Remove the asparagus from the water and shake dry.