Ever cruise your local meat case, looking for something a little different? I often do, just to keep things exciting at dinner time.
I tend to stay clear of the overly solicitous butchers at Whole Foods who stand behind their neat rows of ruby red cuts of meat. They’re a little like the snooty girls at Cartier, guardians of such luxury that their mere gaze pressures me to commit to standing rib roasts of beef or delicate Frenched racks of lamb with the frilly little white paper hats to cover the nude bones. I only approach their lair when I’m ready to succumb for special occasions, fully intending to bust the budget a bit for a memorable dinner. During my weekly shopping trip, I stay in the shallow end, at the meat case whose neatly wrapped celophane packages are much less likely to inspire acts of folly.
Yet the meat case is exactly where I found my latest obsession: hanger steak. There I was, standing there under the bright blinking fluorescent lights, trying to tame the pace of our life by planning a week’s worth of dinners ahead of time. One hand on my chin, the other clutching a pencil and a stained and wrinkled shopping list. I was so deep in thought that I almost missed it, a small package lost between rows and rows of ground beef.
But something about it caught my eye. It could have been the gorgeous marbling, or maybe the swell of its pillowy folds. The label had no description, no marketing copy full of promises. Just two words: hanger steak.
I grabbed three packages quickly, without looking around, terrified that someone would pry them out of my hand. I quickly finished my shopping and raced home to deposit my prize in a position of honor in the fridge. That night at dinner, I told everyone that I had something really special for them.
The hanger steak did not disappoint. The kids had it plain, just pan fried with a little butter. They couldn’t get enough of it. Steve and I had ours pan fried with a drizzle of browned butter shallot sauce on top. As tender as fillet but as flavorful as ribeye, it was a meal we won’t soon forget. It’s no wonder that Hanger Steak is also known as the butcher’s tenderloin. It’s a well-kept secret that the world should know about.
Hanger Steak with Browned Butter Shallot Sauce
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
1 pound of Hanger Steak, cut into 2 chunks to fit your pan
2 large shallots, chopped finely
4 tablespoons of salted butter
- Take your steaks out of the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature.
- Heat your pan on high heat to get it very hot.
- Melt a half a tablespoon of butter in the pan, swirl it around to grease it, and quickly add your steaks.
- Sear on one side for 5 minutes and then flip to the other side to achieve even browning, another 2-4 minutes. Remove from pan and place on plate to let the juices distribute.
- Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan. As soon as the butter begins to turn brown, add the chopped shallots and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the shallots are softened, adding more butter if the sauce begins to evaporate too much.
- Spoon over steaks and serve immediately.