Something Entirely Different…

Once you’ve successfully processed beef chuck or top round,  you can apply your product to more novel preparations. Fennel Crusted Beef requires some effort and patience, but the rewards are many. The complex matrix of flavors really creates a festive, memorable sensation.

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Fennel Crusted Beef

Ingredients:

  • 2 piece Sous Vide processed Chuck Underblade Roast, 6-8 oz. each.
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • Approx. 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh Fennel fronds–the flavor of Fennel really adds a lot to this dish, and the vegetable itself is becoming more available in stores.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Spinach, sauteed, uncovered, in neutral oil with a pinch of salt and drained, approx 4 oz.
  • Blue Cheese wedges, 1 oz/person
  • “Steak” fries; I make my own, but they’re readily available frozen–about two per person

Sauce Foyot

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks, or 1 egg (whole). that’s right. WHOLE.
  • 1 stick of COLD butter. 4 oz, DO NOT MELT.
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 oz. heavily reduced Demi-Glace, or comparable substitute (Knorr makes a pretty good one).

Procedure:

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  • Preheat your SV vessel to 183F.

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  • Crack the egg into a Ziploc quart bag, add the butter, the vinegar and the demi glace
  • Seal the bag. You don’t have to remove all the air.
  • Put the bag in the tank for half an hour.

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  • Remove, and pour into a glass shaped  like the one pictured–a stick blender must be able to reach the bottom. Insert the stick blender all the way down to start.
  • PULSE, and watch, as the egg on the bottom slowly pulls the butter down into it. DON’T LIFT THE BLENDER UP. Keep pulsing, and then, TILT the blender a little bit to pull the remainder of the butter into the sauce.

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  • If there’s still a little butter on top, you can stir it in with a spoon, and then taste it. It’s going to be about 140F.

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  • Serve immediately, or you can keep it.  It won’t break until it goes below 120F, although it may get somewhat thicker.

And Now, Our Featured Performer…

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  • While you’re waiting for the sauce, coat the beef with the flour.  Then, coat the beef with beaten egg white.

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  • Gather your herbs–these are the fronds from the stalks of fennel bulb. Most people just throw them out.  Very fresh, mild, flavor.

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  • I almost always incorporate parsley somehow.

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  • There’s still no machine to do the chopping for this properly, so just have at it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  It won’t be, the fennel doesn’t like being chopped.

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  • If your hands are nice and dry, you can sprinkle to coat.  Otherwise, just roll up your sleeves and spackle it all on there.

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  • Let set for 15 minutes, and the coating will be less likely to fall off.

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  • I deep fried them for this app,  the best way to avoid overcooking, but they can be seared in a pan.  You need enough oil to insulate the crust from the dry pan.
  • Roll carefully to touch each side, or broil in a very hot oven or BBQ oven until you get the color you want.
  • I plead guilty to spraying a little Pam on there.  It helps the crisping process.

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  • We used to call this French Fried, or Shallow Fried, even, meaning not quite enough oil to fully submerge.
  • Don’t call it “Flash Fried.”  There is no such thing.  Either it’s fried to the desired stage, or it’s not. There’s no flashing involved.
  • The term flash fried was invented in an attempt to circumvent the stigma associated with the use of dirty, worn out oil by lazy operators.  But there is nothing unprofessional or inherently unhealthy about deep frying.  It’s just another form of cooking. You can’t make French fries without it.  Don’t blame the method for that fact that it is frequently executed improperly.

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  • Crispy, crusty, mysterious looking

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  • I like to form the spinach into a ring, but this is really optional, just make a nice bed in the middle of the plate.

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  • Don’t smother the spinach when you cook it.  It preserves its color much better.

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  • Top the spinach with the Sauce Foyot.

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  • Carve the steak, London Broil style, and lay out, stand the cheese up next to it.

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  • Garnish with the steak fries.  No need to flash fry them, just deep fry them until they are deep fried.

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  • Looks good to me.  Not too fancy, but stylish

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  • The crust really adds some flair.

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  • This is a very rich and satisfying dish.  The merging flavors of the Foyot emulsion and the Blue Cheese are almost sinfully soft and creamy, while the “steak” provides the texture.