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Balsamic-Marinated Hanger Steak

In this recipe by Chef Bryan Voltaggio, a balsamic vinegar-based marinade gives a flavor boost to hanger steaks.

Ingredients:

For the steaks:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • Malt vinegar sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 lb. hanger steaks, fat trimmed
  •  

For the arugula puree:

  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, blanched, cooled in ice water and large stem pieces trimmed
  • 3 oz. arugula
  • 3 Tbs. ice water
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  

For the red wine-infused demi-glace:

  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup veal demi-glace
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  •  

For the cauliflower and melted leeks:

  • 4 leeks, white and light green portions, cut into thin rings and rinsed well under cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets, each floret cut vertically into 1/4-inch slices
  •  

For the polenta:

  • 3 cups milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 3 cups instant white or yellow polenta
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese   
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • Canola oil for cooking

Directions:

To marinate the steaks, in a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, garlic, shallots, bay leaf, coriander and thyme. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and lightly season with malt vinegar sea salt and pepper. Place the steaks in a baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To make the arugula puree, in a blender, combine the parsley, arugula and ice water. Blend on low speed for about 10 seconds, then slowly increase the speed to high and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula as needed. With the machine running on high speed, slowly drizzle in the grape seed oil, blending until emulsified. Transfer the puree to a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.

To make the red wine-infused demi-glace, in a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the thyme and wine, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in the demi-glace and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Strain the sauce into a bowl, discarding the solids. Return the sauce to the pan and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until warm. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter.

To make the cauliflower and melted leeks, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the leeks, stock, butter, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with aluminum foil and gently simmer until the leeks are very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and let the leeks cool in the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the cauliflower and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the melted leeks and about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to the sauté pan. Cook until the leeks are warmed through and most of the liquid has reduced, 4 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the polenta, in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat, bring the 3 cups milk, the cream, garlic and shallot to a simmer, then simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain the milk mixture into a clean large saucepan and return the mixture to a boil. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking frequently to prevent scorching, until the polenta is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season with kosher salt and pepper. If the polenta becomes too thick, add more milk as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with aluminum foil.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and place on a wire rack set on a baking sheet to drain. If the steaks are long, cut them in half crosswise. Season with malt vinegar sea salt and pepper.

Warm an 11-inch grill pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, lightly brush with canola oil. Working in batches, cook the steaks, turning once, 7 to 9 minutes per batch for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the steaks against the grain into 1/4-inch slices.

To serve, spoon the arugula puree onto the center of individual plates, dividing evenly; using the back of the spoon, form the puree into a large circle. Gently spoon the polenta into the center of the arugula puree. Top the polenta with slices of steak, arrange the melted leeks and cauliflower around the plate, and finish with a drizzle of the red wine-infused demi-glace. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe by Chef Bryan Voltaggio