So, you want to impress your spouse/mate with Steak and Eggs for breakfast, but you don’t want to get up at 4 a.m. and make a gigantic mess in the kitchen to do it. This is why people go out for brunch — it’s just too much work to do at home.
But, believe me, there are benefits to doing it at home. For one thing, it won’t cost the two of you $100, even if you make Mimosas. Most of the cleanup will have occurred yesterday. You will gain more street cred if you actually pull it off yourself, and, you won’t have to drive home, either; you can just pass out on the couch, hero that you are. And here’s how you do it.
Thanks to Sous Vide, this process involves about 2 hours of your actual attention on the day before the event, and the time that it takes to remove food from bags and put it on plates the next morning. You can do some SV processing one day earlier if you prefer, I will note convenient stopping times.
Special Equipment needed:
- Cast Iron grill pan, or one of those Teflon ones if that’s what you’ve got. No shame. Or, you can use your BBQ, if you are really that ambitious.
- a Stick Blender. These things are very useful, and not expensive. Any brand, they all work.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 Russet potato, OR 1 large New (red) potato. Anything over 8 oz. is fine. Trim makes good potato salad. Two red potatoes? Sure, whatever.
- 1 carrot.
- 1 Beef Tri-tip roast (you won’t use the whole thing).
- 2 eggs for service, I usually do a couple extra in case of mishap. Eggs are cheap, and if one should break or whatever, they don’t become garbage. They become aioli, mayo, mustard sauce, rouille, any number of things.
- 1 oz. demi-glace (optional), or, do what I usually do, and use Knorr. I keep it in a squirt bottle. It doesn’t even have to be hot. The plate will be hot.
One recipe Hollandaise sauce:
- 1 egg
- 1 stick (4 oz.) butter
- 1 oz. White Vinegar or Lemon Juice
- pinch salt
- Sous Vide process potato in Ziploc Quart bag @183Fx2 hours.
- Russet, or…
- Process the carrots cut to fit Ziploc Gallon bag @183Fx1 hour. This can be done simultaneously with the potato, but not in the same bag, d’oh.
- Shock cold, and refrigerate.
After the vegetables are completely cold…
- I use a mandolin to cut the potato into four uniform slices, but it can be done by hand.
- If you do it by hand, just split the potato in half, and then cut each piece in half horizontally. You can trim off the curved side if you want to, but it’s going to disappear anyway.
- Stack up the slices, and trim the edges to make uniform rectangles.
- Same thing with the optional red potato–couple of spots in there, no problem, you’re going to square off anyway.
- Cut the carrots in half lengthwise sprinkle with S+P and a little smoked Paprika.
- Sprinkle both sides of the potatoes with S+P, or your favorite seasoning mix. I put a little smoked Paprika in there to add grill color.
- Make it easy on yourself and spray a little Pam or generic spray release on the vegetables. You’ll be glad you did. Or, coat lightly with crazy expensive oil, if you prefer. It’s all going to drain off, so, whatever.
- This is a convenient time to stop if you are pressed for time. Just store everything in the fridge.
- Or, continue to the next step.
Potatoes can be Steaks
- Heat your grill (you can use the BBQ if you really want to go down that road) so that the grates are really hot, like 400F. I spray the grates too.
- If I feel like it, I weight them, slightly, to hold them flat.
- This is one of those times when it pays to be patient.
- Even though the potatoes disappear under all the other items, the browning improves flavor and texture.
- Relax. I listen for them to STOP sizzling, which suggests that the water has steamed out, giving the starch a chance to caramelize.
- It’s a love thing.
- Here’s the red potatoes, little bit different texture, really good, too.
- Too many choices? Sorry!
- Grill the carrots the same way; be patient, they won’t burn. Even if they do, that color dissipates in the next step.
- The darker the marks you can get on there, the better the flavor and texture will be.
- Listen for the sizzling to stop. My wife says I’m deaf, but I can hear this.
- I confess, I keep a little mayonnaise on the side and dip little pieces of trim in it.
- Yes, I wash my hands, like a thousand times a day.
- Gloves can give you a false sense of safety.
- A bare hand detects what’s on its surface. That doesn’t work if you have a glove on.
- I had a cook once who wore gloves, but he would take a raw chicken breast out of the cold top, put it in a pan, and then use the same gloved hand to grab a pinch of parsley to garnish another dish. This is not a good thing.
- Cooks get to eat the extras, usually crouching over a garbage can.
- Remove the vegetables from the pan and spread them out, so they stop cooking.
- Then, you can store them together.
- Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, life is good.
Okay, let’s do the Steak thing.
- If you shop around, you can hopefully find Beef Bottom Sirloin Tri-tip at somewhere around $4/lb.
- Any steak will work, I shop price by necessity. Sous Vide saves money, people don’t seem so interested in that, but it’s a big part of the thing.
- You will see it trimmed and untrimmed, with the commensurate difference in price.
- Hmmm, the price is right, it looks pretty lean, all systems go, right?
- But, when you flip it over… comme ça.
- Haha, the joke’s on the unwitting consumer.
- Fortunately, we have learned to expect this.
- I cut the roast into four pieces to get a sort of Filet shape on that middle one.
- I bagged up the other pieces, and everything is going to get processed together, at the same temperature.
- The steak for breakfast, we are going to pre-sear, so we don’t have to do it in the morning.
- Easy Peasy, blue skies ahead.
- But first.
- Combine 1 egg (break the yolk), 1 stick butter, 1 Tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a Ziploc Quart bag.
- Process SV@183Fx30 minutes.
- Remove bag and let it sit to cool on the counter for a minute before you open it.
- Dump the ingredients into a 12 oz. glass.
- Reserve the bag, we are going to reuse it.
- Insert the stick blender and PULSE, slowly, keeping the blender fixed to the BOTTOM OF THE GLASS at all times. This prevents the sauce from breaking.
- DO NOT LIFT UP! You will see the egg slowwwwwwly pull the floating butter down into it, until you have a uniform emulsion.
- Once this has occurred, you can TILT the stick blender to pull the remaining butter down, but it’s really not necessary, the act of pouring it out or even tasting with a spoon will finish the emulsion for you.
- Put the Ziploc Quart bag that you used to cook the sauce in another 12 oz. glass, and pour the sauce in.
Lower the SV Vessel to 130F.
- Pre-heat your cast iron broiler pan, or have your BBQ ready to cook.
- Sprinkle the Tri-tip with S+P
- and sear on all sides–don’t move it around too much, that slows down the searing.
- Don’t worry, it’s not going to over cook. Get it as dark as you can, as quick as you can, and you won’t have to repeat this step on the morning of your happy event.
- I’ve got a little smoked paprika on there too, but use whatever you like. Only salt will penetrate, and not very far, either, but flavors cling at least a little bit to the surface. Make sure you save the SousJus for a later project when you’re done.
- Take it out of the pan, and let it cool for a minute.
- Put it in a Ziploc Gallon bag, remove the air using immersion method, seal, and drop in the tank. Well, don’t drop it. Lower it into there. That’s right. Feel the love.
I will offer two different methods to do the eggs. They both work.
- Bring 1 quart of water to a furious boil.
- Gently lower at least two eggs into the water; I use a slotted spoon. If you try to drop them in there, they will usually sink and crack.
- Set a timer for EXACTLY 4 minutes.
- If you like your yolks more done, set the timer for EXACTLY 5 minutes.
- When your timer goes off, carefully lift out the eggs and put them in a Ziploc Quart bag. There’s no rush, you can shock them in ice water to make them easier to handle if you like. Relax, once the eggs are out of the boiling water, there is no urgency.
- Remove the air from the bag using the immersion method, seal, and lower into the same 130F tank as the Tri-tip.
- Bring 1 quart of water to a furious boil.
- Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar.
- Crack at least two eggs into a bowl.
- People seem to think this is boiling. This not boiling. This is “hot.”
- Boiling occurs AFTER those bubbles get big enough to jump to the surface and release the steam.
- When that happens, you can swirl the water with a wooden spoon like Julia Child did, but it’s not really necessary. She eventually abandoned the method herself. It’s intended to keep the eggs from sticking to the bottom, which they won’t if the water is actually BOILING.
- Gently pour the eggs into the boiling water/vinegar mixture.
- Watch, but don’t put any utensil in there until the water returns to a boil.
- Just getting ready to come back up.
- there we go. reduce heat and remain calm. Poaching eggs always seems to make people feel anxious. It’s very easy. Don’t fritz with them too much.
- While you wait, make sure you have a container filled half way with about 2 cups of cold water, to cool the eggs in.
- You can use a spoon to skim the foam on top, which collapses as soon as you pull it away from the heat. Now you can see the eggs in the pot.
- Use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs out of the water, but if you see them start to sag in the spoon, just let go and wait another minute.
- If they break, save them and do some more.
- Everything will be fine.
- Once the whites get firm, and they get pretty firm, it’s easy to spoon them out into the cold water.
- Wait a few minutes, until you can handle them with your, um, well, your hands. Or the slotted spoon.
- Load them into a Ziploc Quart bag that you have sprayed a tiny bit of oil into.
- Remove most of the air using the immersion method, and seal.
- Don’t squeeze them too hard. The sky will not fall if there’s a little air in there.
- Lower into the bath with the Tri-tip.
- Put the potatoes and carrots in a Ziploc Quart bag, 2 slices of potato/person, 2 strips carrot/person.
- Remove the air using the immersion method, seal, and lower into the tank with the steak and the eggs.
- Make sure you have no leaks by looking into the tank from the side.
- Make sure everything is submerged as much as possible, I use the Lipavi racks, they’re just the right size and weight.
- Make sure that the water is up to the fill line.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Put away the stopwatch. This can safely stay in the tank anywhere from 6 hours to 18 hours. Really. Pasteurizing the whole time.
Time to Raise the Steaks!
- Make coffee. Have a cigarette, if you must, but please don’t.
- Turn on your oven, set it as low as possible. Most modern ovens can be set @170F.
- Most plates will tolerate this much heat. Put two CLEAN large dinner plates in the oven.
- Take a sip of coffee.
- Take another sip of coffee.
- Set the table, pour the orange juice, whatever is your custom. You are 10 minutes from service.
- Remove the bag with the potatoes and the carrots from the bath.
- Carefully dump them out into a pie pan or plastic container.
- Arrange the potatoes and carrots on the plates while they are still in the oven, if possible. If that is too awkward, use a hot pad, and take them out as needed.
- Take the eggs out of the bath, and submerge them in an ample amount of room temperature water for a couple of minutes to make them easier to handle. Make sure the container is large enough for you to put both of your hands in there with the eggs.
- Take the Tri-tip out of the bag,
- Cut two 3-4oz. slices,
- and lay one on top of the carrots and potatoes on each plate.
- Push down on the center to form a little cradle for your egg.
- Put the plate back in the oven for sure.
- Okay, the eggs. This is really the most difficult part, but only because everything else is so easy.
- Don’t try to crack them on a hard surface, this tends to break them in two.
- Using a spoon, tap and crack on the smallest end, and work your way around, fracturing the shell about half way down the egg.
- Carefully peel off the fractured shell. Sometimes it helps to dip it back in the cold water to loosen it.
- If you did a couple of extra, you did a smart thing. If they start to break apart during this next step, don’t put them back in the water, but them in a bowl to save.
- Now that half the shell is removed, the spoon will fit inside the curve of the remaining shell, and you can use a rotating motion to remove the egg. Ease it into the water. If you try to put them in a dish, their weight will break them open.
- Lay the egg in the well that you created in the steak.
- This is the beautiful, easy part.
- Using a spoon and a tilt, remove the poached eggs from the bag.
- Place them in the little well on the steak.
- This is much easier than the other way.
- This is why I like the poached egg method a little bit more.
- There’s a little of flexibility to a poached egg, whereas the soft boiled egg has a tendency to crack. But, take heart.
- If the egg cracks, or breaks, you can either replace it or just put the sauce on the top. Nobody will be the wiser.
- Remember, THEY just woke up!
Steak Your Claim on the Sauce
- Remove the bag of Hollandaise sauce from the bath,
- open it, and put it in a 12 oz. glass so you can stir a little bit and serve.
- Call your Sweetie to the table.
- Pour some sauce over the eggs, and drizzle the perimeter with the Demi-glace. I like to put it in a squirt bottle.