Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why Onglet and Bavette is the new Filet

I love a good medium-rare Filet Mignon. It's tender and when prepared correctly almost melts in your mouth. The only problem with filet, compared to other parts of a cow, is that it is not as flavorful. It doesn't have much fat and comes without a bone, which both usually add quite a bit of flavour to the meat. It's also kind of "lazy" meat and doesn't get used much by a cow, means, it sits nicely protected in a body part where there is not much muscle activity, which as well, would make more flavourful meat.

There are however parts that get used a lot and are quite active. That's where butchers cut steaks such as Bavette or Onglet. Bavette, which is also called Flank-steak is cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. Onglet, or Hanger-steak, is V-shaped and obtained from the diaphragm of the heifer or the steer. Both are significantly tougher than other meats. Therefore it's best prepared when marinated and quickly seared on both sides for about 3 minutes in a hot cast-iron pan. When served you're better to cut it into thin slices. With thin and tough cuts like this, you should only salt the meat after searing it.

original image found on wikipedia

Especially Onglet used to be what butchers would rather keep for themselves. Everyone likes their meat to be as tender as possible, so there has not been much interest in those kinds of cuts, until now.
But a butcher's preference can't be that bad, right? And really, it's not that tough if you prepare it right. Just make sure it stays medium rare or absolute maximum medium. Then everything should be fine.

In a very hot (cast iron) pan sear the steaks on both sides for 2.5-3 minutes
Onglet is so strong in flavour that it almost tastes organy, like liver or heart. For some people maybe a bit too intense. Bavette is a little milder, so that might be a better to start off with. But really Onglet is pretty damn good. You should try it.

After searing, wrap the steaks in aluminium foil and let it sit for at least 6 minutes.
Here in Germany Onglet and Bavette are so unpopular, or let's better say unknown, that they get sold (if they get sold) surprisingly cheap. We bought both at Galerie Lafayette, that fancy department store on Friedrichstra├če. They were well-aged and each costed around 10€ for about 500g. That's nothing over here, where 100g of filet usually ranges between 4 and 8€.

it's perfect when it's medium rare!
PS: we ate ours unmarinated. Just had it reach room temperature, rubbed it in crushed pepper corns and a tiny bit of olive oil and seared it from both sides for 2.5 - 3 minutes in an extremely hot cast iron pan. Than wrapped the steaks in aluminum foil and had them rest for at least 6 minutes.

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