New York Strip Steak with Wasabe Sauce   Recipe
New York Strip Steak with Wasabe Sauce

By Wolfgang Puck

We're in the middle of a steak-eating renaissance. I see it in the popularity of my Cut steakhouses in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas, not to mention the number of people who love to order steaks in my other restaurants.

When it comes to cooking at home, though, steak seems more seasonal. People wait until the weather is warm enough for them to throw steaks on the outdoor grill. And that's a shame, because steaks are actually easy to cook indoors.

The secret is as simple as having the right frying pan, or skillet, one with a heavy bottom that holds heat well and conducts it evenly, and low curved sides that don't trap moisture, the enemy of proper searing and browning. I also prefer pans made of non-reactive metals, particularly stainless steel, that won't affect the flavor of pan sauces.

Once you've got the pan, cooking steaks is easy. First, heat the pan well and add a little oil to help prevent sticking. Then, in go the well-seasoned steaks.

I like to use New York steaks, also known as New York strip steaks, Kansas City strip steaks, shell steaks, and sirloin club steaks. Whatever it's called, this cut from the short loin is very tender and flavorful, perfect for quick pan cooking. For the absolutely top quality, look for USDA Prime steaks; those labeled Choice are also excellent. The only seasoning the steaks need is some salt and pepper, though you can get a little fancier, as I do in the recipe I share here, by using a mixture of black, green, and pink peppercorns.

My next tip is to leave the steaks alone. Many home cooks anxiously lift or turn them every 30 seconds or so, which interferes with the formation of a well-browned crust. Resist temptation, letting the steaks sear undisturbed for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their thickness and how rare or well done you want them, before cooking the other side.

Once the steaks are done, all that's left to do is make a sauce. Properly seared, the steaks leave behind a well-browned, flavorful glaze in the pan. Add some flavorful liquid-particularly wine, which has the acidity a good sauce needs for a well-balanced taste-to dissolve, or deglaze, the pan deposits. Then, add some broth and seasonings, reduce the liquid to concentrate its flavor and consistency, maybe enrich it with some cream and butter, and your sauce is ready to pay the perfect complement to your steaks.

One final tip: Always remember that sauce is there to enhance your meat, not overpower it. I always serve just a spoonful on top of each steak, passing the rest at the table for guests to help themselves.

New York Steak with Wasabe Sauce Recipe

Serves 4

Recipe Ingredients

3 tablespoons each whole black, green, and pink peppercorns

1/4 cup (60 ml) Port wine

4 New York steaks, each about 6 ounces (185 g)

Salt

1-1/2 tablespoons safflower oil

2/3 cup (185 ml) dry red wine

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2/3 cup (185 ml) heavy cream

1/3 cup (90 ml) store-bought organic beef broth

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons prepared wasabi paste (from the ethnic food section of well-stocked markets, or your local sushi bar)

Recipe Preparation

The night or morning before you plan to serve the steaks, put 1 tablespoon each of the black, green, and pink peppercorns in a small glass bowl or cup. Add the Port wine, cover, and refrigerate. Just before you begin to prepare the steaks, remove the soaked peppercorns from the refrigerator and drain off any Port that they haven't absorbed. Set aside.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons each of peppercorns in a small, heavy-duty plastic bag. With a rolling pin, crush the peppercorns.

With a sharp knife, trim excess fat from the steaks. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and the crushed peppercorns, pressing the seasonings into the meat.

Heat a large, heavy, non-reactive skillet over high heat. Add the oil and, when it swirls easily and coats the pan, add the steaks. Cook them about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a plate, cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil to keep them warm, and set aside.

Pour out the fat from pan. Return the pan to the heat, add the red wine and balsamic vinegar, and stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Boil until the mixture has reduced by about a half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and broth and continue boiling, stirring and scraping occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes more.

One small piece at a time, whisk the butter into the sauce. Stir in the wasabi paste until it dissolves and blends in; then, stir in the soaked peppercorns and the juices that have accumulated from the covered steaks. Season to taste with salt.

To serve, place the steaks on heated serving plates. Spoon a little of the sauce with the whole peppercorns on top of each steak. Transfer the remaining sauce to a sauceboat to pass at the table.

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