The Yomiuri ShimbunIn this column, chefs and cooking experts share recipes that are easy to prepare at home.
Katsuo Omiya, a chef who runs a Western food restaurant, recommends a dish called “steak don” — steak on rice.
Thick slices of beef steak are placed on rice. A shoyu-based sauce that contains the sweetness of cooked apple and onion makes the flavor of the meat even more delicious.
Omiya said, “When we think of a rich Western meal, the obvious choice is beefsteak.”
This time, a cut of U.S. beef called zabuton (literally meaning floor cushion) is used. It is similar to chuck steak, and it has just the right amount of sashi (marbled fat).
The luscious fat and the umami taste of red meat, which give diners particular joy, form a good balance, he said. The meat is also nice and soft.
When you are cutting a big chunk of beef into pieces, there is one thing that makes it easier to eat.
“Meat fibers often run on a slant. Using a kitchen knife, you should slice at a right angle against the fibers to sever them,” Omiya said.
You can improve your technique if you imagine slicing a cube of tuna.
If a zabuton cut is not available, a cut of meat from the leg can be used, though this is less fatty.
It may seem difficult to grill thick meat properly. Omiya said, “My advice is to coat the surface of the meat in oil while grilling at high heat, and then heat right to the center with residual heat in the final stage.”
The best choice of a frying pan for this purpose is one made of steel.
First, cooking oil is put in the pan, which is heated until smoke begins to rise, after which butter is added. When the butter begins to melt, the meat is placed in the pan.
If the frying pan is nonstick, the cooking oil and butter should be heated together.
When both sides of the meat are browned, remove it from the pan. The meat is placed on a tray to let it rest, allowing the residual heat to penetrate to the middle of the meat.
When the meat has cooled down to warm and its juices are oozing out, the cooking process is complete.
Salad leaves are placed over rice, and the slices of meat are placed on them. The finishing touch is toppings like shredded shiraganegi long onion.
The meat has a great presence, with the middle of each piece a beautiful rosy color. Biting into it, it has a soft but somewhat elastic texture, and the umami flavors seep out.
The naturally sweet sauce matches both the meat and the rice.
Recipe for steak don
Ingredients (serves 1):
150 grams beef (zabuton cut)
1 tbsp cooking oil
5 grams butter
1 bowl rice
Salad leaves, shiraganegi long onion, chopped parsley as desired
250 cc red wine
4-5 tbsp shoyu
1. Season meat with salt and pepper on both sides.
2. Put cooking oil into a steel frying pan. Heat until a little bit of smoke rises, then add butter. When the butter begins to melt, grill the meat over high heat. After a while, spread the cooking oil over the whole of the underside of the meat by shaking the frying pan or picking up the meat slightly with tongs. When the surface of the meat becomes brown, turn the meat over and grill the other side in the same manner until it also becomes brown.
3. Remove the meat and place on a tray. Cover with aluminum foil. Place atop the frying pan, after turning off the heat, or beside the stove. Let it rest until the juices ooze out.
4. To make the sauce, simmer the wine in a small pan over medium heat until reduced to one-third, then turn off the heat. Grate apple, onion and garlic then add to pan with shoyu. Simmer the mixture over medium heat until the onion develops a sweet flavor.
5. Serve rice on a plate. Lay salad leaves seasoned with French dressing over the rice. Cut the meat into easy-to-eat slices and place on top of the leaves. Put shredded shiraganegi long onion and parsley on top of the meat, and serve with the sauce on the side.
“I will teach you [to make] my original seasoning, which can be used as a seasoning and a finishing touch for meat,” Omiya said.
He calls it maitake shio as it is made of maitake mushrooms and salt. Maitake mushrooms are dried in the sun, and then ground into a fine powder with a food processor or similar device. The maitake powder, salt and pepper are mixed at a ratio of 2:1:1. The mixture is stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
“This seasoning makes meat soft. It also has a fragrant aroma and is rich in umami,” Omiya said.
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