I learned what a New York Mignon was about thirty years ago, and never saw or heard of it again, until this last year. To date I’ve seen it mentioned and served in several different venues. A New York Mignon is simply a whole beef striploin cut to resemble a steak cut from the beef tenderloin, commonly called a Filet Mignon. Easy to do, but blasphemous to the eyes of traditional butchering practice. We will also be implementing cured pork belly (bacon), Bulgur/Lentilsotto, one of those “something or other fashioned to resemble risotto” things that have shown up. Rice-a-Roni itself is an ersatz risotto, or maybe risotto is ersatz Rice-a-Roni, I’m not even sure any more.
It’s not supposed to rhyme.
As I butterflied through college lit. class audits and student union rap sessions, the conversations would frequently land on poetry, albeit superficially and devoid of nuance. We prided ourselves on having left Limericks behind (sharing them in secret later in the commons), but we still thought haikus were difficult to compose. Occasionally, a forward thinking professor or grad student would hover among us, eager to expose the fresh faced “co-eds” to some extremely liberal arts. Jumbled up in all the earnest yet meaningless drivel, there lay concealed the occasional pearl of literary wisdom. I clearly remember an assistant professor otherwise desperate to earn his tenure, attempting to coach us in at least a modicum of poetic viewpoint.
No doubt bored to exasperation, he eventually blurted out “poetry depends on the poet’s ability to make incomprehensible phrases resonate in the dullest of ears and minds.” I’m sure there was a unified muttering of phrases like “wow, deep,” and “rad.” Sadly,we were too stoned to hold that thought long enough to contemplate the implication. In retrospect, his truism can now be crisply applied to the early lyrics of Bob Dylan, and the lyrics to timepieces like Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4.” “But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked,” indeed. And so, general comprehension of the lexicon of any era’s artists, shallow and commercialized though it may be, cannot be fully assimilated until the next generation converts archaic slang like “stoned” and “cool” into the contemporary vocabulary.
Eating in English always seemed so undignified.
Restaurant menus have always been peppered with an unnecessary abundance of non-English pseudo-artistic terminology, for a variety of reasons. Everything from continental snobbery to simple whimsy created a jargon that failed to comply with the basic rules of numerous languages simultaneously. This left us with a daily special list composed in a sort of Greco/Franco/’talian/Spanglish/Esparantu that Noam Chomsky would be loathe to formalize. Ultimately, dishes named after celebrities and places (Melba, Parisienne, à la Turque) were finally being supplanted by the more familiar American English, and even some descriptive, technical, and scientific syntax.
Nowadays, we litter our “Chef’s Choices” not only with overly technical terms, but quasi-technical terms like “flash fried” and “flame broiled.” That’s why I named this article the way that I did. The description is accurate, it is correct. It is also hieroglyphic and indecipherable. One might need a Google/Amazon Rosetta Stone to actually decipher the meaning, much less the intent. But, who knows? In ten years, Sous Vide will quite likely be in common usage, and even Sans Vide might be familiar to a lot of people.
NY Mignon is a state of mind. Or, is it?
- This simple preparation of tender steak is adorned with some elaboration, by design.
- Steak is great, and Sous Vide Steak is great, and Sans Vide Steak is great, too.
- Bulgur wheat, +1/2 cup, 1 cup water, pinch salt.
- Lentils, dry, 1/2 cup, 2 cups water.
- Heavy cream, 1 oz.
- Butter, copious amounts as needed.
- S+P, as needed.
- Bacon slab or slice, 4 oz. (I made my own, but this is not necessary).
- NY Mignon steaks, 6 oz. ea, 2 ea. (I made three for sport).
- White wine, 1 oz. (optional).
- Unseasoned stock, or water, 6 oz.
- Tomato, small, 1 ea.
- Preheat your SV vessel to 183F.
- Combine the bulgur with the 1 cup H20 and a pinch of salt, in a Ziploc Quart bag.
Highball takes on a new meaning.
- I use a 16 oz. glass, it’s amazing how messy simple tasks can get when we only have the two hands.
- This makes it impossible to spill
- If you are using Lipavi racks, you don’t need to seal the bag!
- Arrange the racks so the object will stand between them,
- Make sure the rack itself is at least 1″ above the water level.
- Lower the bag into the water, and, since it is not sealed, it will sink.
- Use a clothespin, a paper clip, to loosely attach the bag to the rack, just so it doesn’t fold over.
- I like to close the bag ALMOST all the way, it’s just a little easier to handle
- Do the same thing with the lentils, in an adjacent rack in the same vessel.
- Lipavi’s lids are dedicated to each individual brand of circulator–this is a Joule that I am Beta testing.
- That tight fit really limits evaporation.
No, not THOSE kind of lids, but watch for them soon on Amazon.
- After one hour, the bulgur will be cooked.
- Remove it from the bath, and either seal it and shock it in water, or pour it out into a flat container to cool.
- Bulgur, oatmeal, rice etc. are actually potentially hazardous foods, and should be either served immediately, or cooled as quickly as possible.
- The lentils I allowed to cook in the bath for 2 hours, but only because I ignored them.
- They may cook faster, I don’t know.
- After two hours, they were perfect, as perfect as a lentil can be.
- I never thought the lentils would work like this, but SV does many things that I never thought it would.
- The lentils will be tender, but there will be no dissolution, at least in my experience.
- I hate undercooked beans of any kind, well, I don’t hate them, but I won’t eat them.
- Mushy beans, well, I might hate them.
- No, I can’t hate anything like I used to could, but I DO find them undignified.
Bulgur is NOT vulgar.
- Bulgur is minimally processed wheat kernels, that can be cooked almost like rice.
- Huge in Middle Eastern cooking, rollin’ that kind of Tabouleh thing.
- Combine 1 cup (not all) of the cooked bulgur,
- 1/2 cup (not all) of the cooked, drained lentils,
- 1 oz. cream, 2 oz butter in a Ziploc Quart bag, and
- return to a vessel @140F-165Fx1 or until mouth hot, depending on how much they cooled off before.
- I seasoned the steaks, I never do that.
- Sort of my own rub, S,P, nutmeg, cardamom, hondashi, weird stuff.
- Then, I preseared in a hot pan, not that flamethrower 700F pan, more like a 350F just getting ready to smoke pan.
- I usually don’t do that either.
- We’ll see just how much the crust dissolves.
- I’m not overly concerned.
They look so helpless there.
- Into the Ziplock Sandwich bags.
- These are lighter, flimsy, but we’re not going to seal them, so I have faith.
- They cost $.02/ea. at Costco.
- Worth a shot.
- Not planning on using them for long cooks, or high cooks.
Into the vessel @127F for 3 hours.
insert bacon here!
- I always hacked racks.
- Times have changed.
- You can see the elaborate perfection of the rack, with hoops separating food and tight fitting double pin holders.
- Bacon, doing it’s thing in there, just so I don’t have to fry it last minute.
- I had cut some little hash marks into it, they held up pretty good.
- Back to the pan. There’s enough flavor in there to deglaze with the wine and stock.
- Don’t feel guilty if you use water and a little high end Knorr.
- Oven the vault, and put a little butter in there at the end.
- Steaks and ‘zotto and pretty much ever’thing there in the tank, in open bags.
- No wrestling match with the seal this time.
- I like it.
- Take that small tomato and cut it into a square, and cut it in half.
- S+P or whatever, just as a counterpoint.
- You never see whole slab cured bacon in the store, so when you encounter it, well, that’s a good thing.
- Depending on where you slice from, it’s very meaty.
- That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
I think I might cry.
- I don’t really cry, but I do get a little choked up; the hair on the back of my neck changes direction, I get a little warm out of control feeling.
- Don’t tell anybody.
Dang, that ain’t half bayud.
- Don’t forget the chopped parsley, just because I didn’t put it in the recipe.
- Some altitude, some curve, some cubist stuff, some Dadaist stuff, I gotta figure out how to get some Gauguin in there.
- Right, I wish.
- Ain’t no shame in well done, either, don’t even get me started.