Butcher's Block: Wagyu Bavette


Wagyu Bavette may be one of my favorite cuts.  It’s part of the bottom sirloin and has amazing beef flavor.  It reminds me of a thick and juicy version of a skirt steak.  It has more texture, which I like, but requires you to slice it against the grain in order to enjoy it. I don’t think I have ever seen it in a grocery store but it is worth searching out at specialty butcher shops.

Truffled Mash Potatoes

2 lbs Idaho Potatoes, peeled and quartered                                                                                                             4 oz Unsalted Butter, melted                                                                                                                                                      2 oz Sour Cream                                                                                                                                                         Whole Milk as needed to loosen up the mix 2 oz or so                                                                                                 1 tsp White Truffle Paste                                                                                                                                                1 tsp White Truffle Oil                                                                                                                                                       Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes in a large pot until they break easily to the touch. Drain the water off and then add the remaining ingredients and whip until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.  For those who like truffle but don’t want it to be too overwhelming, you can omit the truffle oil and just use the paste.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

1 Pint Cherry tomatoes, halved                                                                                                                                  ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil                                                                                                                                              2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar di Modena                                                                                                             1 Shallot, finely minced                                                                                                                                                  1 Large Sprig Fresh Thyme, leaves removed and minced                                                                                           1 tablespoon Flatleaf Parsley, minced                                                                                                                        2 Garlic Cloves, put through a garlic press                                                                                                                    Salt and Pepper to taste

Set your tomatoes to the side at first. Place all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until evenly distributed. Add the tomatoes and stir gently to coat.  Cover and leave them on the counter to marinate for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve at room temperature

Wagyu Bavette

4 8 oz wagyu Bavette Steaks                                                                                                                                          Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Coat                                                                                                                                               Salt and Pepper to taste

Rub the steaks down with the olive oil and season them with your salt and pepper.  I always use Kosher salt and I recommend that you do too. You can sear them and finish them in the oven but it’s hard to beat the flavor of a grilled steak. Cook to medium rare and allow to rest about 5 minutes. Slice them, against the grain, and serve.

Blackened Pompano with Saffron Farrotto, Warm Crab Salad and Brown Butter Sauce

I love the firm texture and delicate flavor of fresh pompano.  It makes it very versatile and a good candidate for blackening. The saffron in the farrotto works well with seafood and the whole dish is just comforting without being super heavy.

Blackening Seasoning

2 Tablespoons Paprika

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme

½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano

Rub the fish with Olive oil and liberally coat the fillet with the seasoning mix.  In a very hot cast iron pan, add 4 oz canola oil and immediately add the fish and sear both sides to get the “blackened” effect. Set the fish to the side and finish the rest of the components.  You can blast it in a hot oven right before you serve the dish

Saffron Farrotto 

1 cup Farro di Abruzzo                                                                                                                                                        2+ quarts Chicken Stock                                                                                                                                                    1 large pinch Saffron                                                                                                                                                         4 oz Unsalted Butter                                                                                                                                                                        1 Small Red Onion, small diced                                                                                                                                              4 cloves Garlic, minced                                                                                                                                                          ½ cup White Wine                                                                                                                                                          ½ cup Grated Parmesan                                                                                                                                                            Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak the farro in warm water for 20 minutes.  While it’s soaking, add the chicken stock and saffron to a saucepan and bring to a simmer and then remove it from the heat.

In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the red onion, stirring often.  Once softened, add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.  Next add your drained farro and turn the heat up to medium high. Keep stirring and let the farro “toast” for a few minutes. Add the white wine and allow it to evaporate while you continue to stir. Add enough chicken stock to cover and reduce the heat to medium low.  Stir often and add more stock as needed until it becomes tender. You want the farro to cook slowly and the released starches will help it get a creamier texture.  Stir in the Parmesan and adjust the seasoning.  At this point, you can add more butter for richness. I’ve seen Italians stir in everything from mozzarella to cream cheese so I encourage you to play around with your recipes and find what works for you

Brown Butter Sauce

One of the easiest and best tasting sauces considering how little effort it takes. Be careful though. Brown butter goes to burnt butter very quickly so it’s not something you can turn your back on.  If it does burn, just start over. There’s no saving burnt butter.

2 sticks Unsalted Butter                                                                                                                                                              The Juice from ½ Lemon                                                                                                                                                      Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet, stirring the whole time, and wait until the milk fat solids start to brown.  There will be a nutty aroma and it’s crucial to stop the cooking at this point. Add the lemon juice, remove from the heat and keep stirring.  I usually pour the sauce over into a bowl to make sure it doesn’t burn and then add salt to taste.

Warm Crab Salad

1 pint Jumbo Lump Crab Meat                                                                                                                                     3 tablespoons Chives, minced                                                                                                                                                      1 teaspoon Garlic Salt                                                                                                                                                                          1 cup Microgreens                                                                                                                                                                       3 oz warm Brown Butter Sauce                                                                                                                                                              Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except the microgreens in a nonstick skillet and heat very gently, stirring but try not to break up the crab meat. Adjust the seasoning. Pour in a bowl with the microgreens right before you plate your dish and top the fish with the mixture.