Gothamist Eating In: Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

In the world of celebrity chefs, trendy multi-level celebrity eateries and Zagat guide food ratings, a restaurant like Extra Virgin could easily be relegated to ‘neighborhood standby’ status rather than becoming a constantly booked ‘destination restaurant’. The décor is simple and the menu features tried and true classics that can be found at virtually any restaurant in the city. Yet because Extra Virgin executes each dish extremely well, it transcends its seemingly modest ambitions and becomes a place to seek out. Food lovers in Manhattan know that a great dinner is worthy of a short subway ride.

A cool golden gazpacho with ceviche shrimp and a classic fritto misto were excellent starters. While a simply grilled halibut served on exceedingly fresh summer tomatoes was great, a grilled hanger steak with fries and a béarnaise dipping sauce was perfectly done. A nicely charred exterior gave way to a tender middle and a nice pool of what tasted like natural pan juices. It was simple, yet perfectly satisfying.

Hanger steak is not always the choice of the home cook. While it’s an inexpensive cut, flank and skirt steaks are usually more widely available in this category. Much like the tuna ceviche featured in our last recipe, hanger steak is usually the type of dish ordered in a restaurant rather than made at home. We’re not sure why - it’s easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and very satisfying. Sounds like a great candidate for the Gothamist recipe.

Gothamist Recipe 2004_08_food_evsteakfinal.jpg Seared Hanger Steak with Roasted Plantains, Chili Coconut Pan Sauce

We’ve taken Extra Virgin’s Seared Hanger steak technique and added a few more elements to make it a bit more unique. The key to getting the hanger steak tender and injected with flavor is to marinate it overnight. This is really only going to take you an extra few minutes and will require you to plan ahead, but the results are very noticeable. Rather than potatoes, we’ve chosen plantains to add a sweet yet starchy addition to the dish. The sauce is quickly made in the same pan that the hanger steak was seared, which is very simple yet adds lots of flavor to the dish. The coconut milk marries well with the flavors from the marinade and matches nicely with the plantains. The addition of chilies adds a spicy flavor that enhances the savory coconut milk and the sweet plantains.

The following recipe is for a relatively large main course for two. A side dish of vegetables or a salad would be a nice addition.

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two – just double it for a party of four.

1 ½ lbs fresh hanger steak
2 ripe plantains
1 bunch fresh rosemary
1 glove garlic
1 small piece of ginger
1 white onion
1 lemon, 1 lime
1 red, 1 green or yellow chili
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 bottle of soy sauce
1 can of coconut milk

Estimated cost of ingredients: $22 at Citarella/Fairway

Buying the Hanger Steak and Plantains
Hanger steak is typically not available at your average market. If you are having trouble finding it, you can use flank or skirt steak for this recipe. Hanger steak is virtually always available at Citarella.

As for the plantains, make sure they are ripe by noticing the black/yellow speckled skin. Touch it and make sure it’s soft but still a bit firm.

Marinating the Steak
Chop one glove of garlic, half of the onion, two stalks of rosemary leaves, the ginger, and half of each chili. Add them to a large sealable ziplock bag. Add ¼ of the bottled soy sauce and ¼ of the canned coconut milk into the bag. Add a glug of olive oil. Mix the contents by closing the bag and shaking. When mixed, add the hanger steak to the bag. While sealing up, take as much of the air out of the bag as possible so you can fold the bag, allowing the steak to be completely submerged in the marinade. Let rest in fridge over night.


Making the Plantains
Peel the plantains and leave them whole. Place a pan on medium high heat and add two tablespoons of butter. When melted, add the whole plantains to the pan. Brown on each side for about 2 minutes each side. Set the plantains aside onto a small baking dish, drizzling any of the remaining butter in the pan onto them. Cover the pan with foil. You’ll finish roasting the plantains along with the steak later on.


Searing and Roasting the Steak
Preheat oven to 350. Add a small glug of olive oil to a heavy pan and place on high heat. Take the steak out of the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel, as you don’t want the steak to be too wet for the searing process. Season with fresh pepper, but not salt as the soy has already done this for you.

Add the steak carefully to the pan. Let cook on one side for about 3 or four minutes. Do not flip before then, as this will create a nice crust for the steak. Flip the steak in the pan with a spatula and sear for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Place the entire pan into the oven, as well as the plantains in the baking plan you’ve already prepared.

Let steak and plantains roast for about 8 to 10 minutes before checking on them. Take the plantains out of the oven and test the center with a small paring knife. If it’s hot and soft, take them out and cover while the steal finishes. (You can overcook plantains and they can become hard and dry).

Check on the steak. You can make a small incision into the middle of the steak to notice its doneness. You’ll most likely need to put back into the oven for 4 or 5 more minutes.

When ready, take the steak out of the oven and place on a clean cutting board, loosely covering with a piece of foil to keep warm. Let it rest for about 5 or 10 minutes so the juices don’t spill out of the meat when carving.

Making the Sauce
Rough chop half of the remaining chilies, the ginger and one stalk of the rosemary used for the marinade.

Take the pan that you roasted the steak in and place on medium heat. Add about ¼ of the remaining coconut milk to the pan and a few tablespoons of water. Scrape the browned bits from the pan and incorporate into the liquid. Add the chilies, rosemary and ginger to the sauce. Add a pinch of kosher salt and fresh pepper. Finally, add a squeeze of lemon and lime juice incorporate into sauce.


Serving and Plating
Take foil off of the steak and slice lengthwise into thin slices. Slice each of your plantains in half lengthwise and place two on each of your large plates. Fan the slices of steak over your plantains and spoon your sauce around the plate and onto your steak slices.



-- Joe DeSalazar