Blade steak or flat iron steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of beef that when you cook it sous-vide becomes more flavorful than many more expensive cuts of steak, and just as tender. Look for steaks with a lot of marbling in them, because that is what gives them the flavor. In the Netherlands this cut is called sukadelappen, and it is cut across the sinew that runs down the middle. The upside of this is that it is about half the price of rump steak and that slicing it across the grain makes it more tender, but the downside is that, depending on how tough the sinew is, you have to remove the sinew out of the steak if you want to serve it medium rare (when braised, the sinew becomes tender).
This post is about a slightly different take on a dish that is served in Chinese restaurants all over the world: strips of stir-fried beef with shii take mushrooms and oyster sauce. This version is delicious because:
- the beef is flavorful, juicy and tender instead of bland and dried out, and
- the juices from cooking the beef sous-vide add an additional layer of flavor.
It is also very quick to make, provided that you put the steaks into the sous-vide water bath in the morning (before you leave for work), so all you have to do when you get home is to cook some rice, to chop and stir-fry the mushrooms and green onions, slice the steak, and mix everything. You will get a load of flavor for very little trouble. Of course it helps to invest in good quality oyster sauce, which should not contain MSG and have a high percentage of actual oysters (the one I used has 45%). Perhaps I will try and make my own oyster sauce from scratch one day from fresh oysters. But for now, let’s focus on this tasty recipe. Here’s what I did…
For 2 servings
400 grams (.9 lb) beef blade steak (if it still contains the sinew you will need to cut out, otherwise 300 grams (0.66 lb) would suffice)
250 grams (.55 lb) fresh shii take mushrooms
oyster sauce to taste, about 4 Tbsp
3 green onions/scallions
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chilli oil
1 tsp corn starch
salt and freshly ground black pepper
130 grams (2/3 cups) white rice
Season the blade steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper, vacuum seal them, and cook them sous-vide for 8 to 12 hours at 55C/131F.
Cook the rice. Meanwhile, take the beef out of the bag, reserving the juices. If needed remove the sinew from the center of each steak.
Then cut the steak into strips.
Slice 250 grams shii take mushrooms and 3 green onions, separating the white and light green part from the dark green ‘thin’ part of the green onions.
Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a wok or a non-stick frying pan. Stir-fry the shii take and the white and light green part of the green onions…
…until the vegetables are tender and starting to color.
Add a teaspoon of corn starch to the reserved juices from cooking the beef. (If the juices are still too warm, dissolve them in two teaspoons of cold water first to prevent lumps.)
Stir to mix.
Add this mixture to the vegetables…
…and cook, stirring, until the juices have thickened, about a minute.
Now add oyster sauce, about 3 tablespoons, and a teaspoon of chilli oil.
Add the beef strips.
Stir over medium heat until everything is coated with oyster sauce and the beef has been heated through (remember it has already been cooked and you don’t want to spoil the sous-vide effect and overcook the beef at this point). Reduce the heat to very low. Taste to see whether you’d like to add more oyster sauce (or chilli oil).
Add the reserved dark green part of the green onions.
Stir to incorporate.
Serve with rice.
This is nice with a Zweigelt from Austria or Zinfandel/Primitivo (which is actually the same grape, named Zinfandel in California and Primitivo in Puglia, Italy).
Wiener schnitzel can be made from veal or pork. Whatever you choose, it should be crispy on the outside while the meat inside is still juicy and tender.