Ce Soir au Chez Frankenstein


vdd.jpgNow I know why some people call it "Whole Paycheck".

It was Surf 'n' Turf night at Chez Frankenstein tonight (relocated, for logistical purposes, from its usual location on W. 70th St. to my parents' apartment -- mebbe I could call it "Chez Frankenstein à ma maison de parents"). It wasn't supposed to be Surf 'n' Turf, but given that

1) I was hungry whilst browsing at Whole Foods, and
2) the only hanger steak that they had was somewhat undersized,
3) it just sorta happened that way.

Anyway, so it was hanger steak and lobster. Hanger steak is a very flavorful, very tasty cut of beef that I've developed a fairly fool-proof way of preparing. Note that you need a pan that works on both the stovetop and in the oven, so anything with plastic or resin handles is out. First, season the steak with olive oil, salt, and rough-cracked pepper. Roughly dice a celery stalk, one-half of a large onion, and roughly and equal amount of carrots (I'm really lazy, so I use those little baby carrots instead). Put a little oil in your pan and heat it 'til sizzling.

Drop the steak in your pan and brown for two (or three) minutes on each side at high heat. This would be a good time to turn the oven broiler on. When the second side is done browning, pull the steak off the bottom of the pan, redistribute the veggies evenly across the pan, and then put the meat back on top of the veggies. Once you've done that, put the pan in the oven, directly under the broiler, for five to eight minutes per side (cooking times vary depending on the kind of pan you have, how hot your broiler gets, and, oh, yeah, how bloody you like your meat). When it's done, pull the pan out, drop the veggies and the meat (which should be a nice dark brown color now) on a plate, and let rest for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, your lobster has been in the steamer, right? No?

Normally, lobsters get 20 minutes of steaming per pound (or 44 minutes per kilo for our metric friends). However, since this lobster is gonna to get split in two and finished in the oven, we want to under-steam it a bit—let's say 15 minutes per pound. The lobster pictured is about 1 1/4 pounds, just FYI. The shell will be a nice bright red by the time you take it out, and the lobster will be very dead at that point; no need to worry about (excess) animal cruelty.

There's no shortcut for bisecting a lobster; a heavy, sharp knife (I used a butcher's cleaver) is pretty much the only tool for the job. Just take your heavy, sharp knife, place it directly above the thorax (head), and push really hard.

Once the lobster has been cleaved, you'll notice that it's really difficult for the thing to lie on its side because the claws keep getting in the way. This is when you want to chop the claws off. Besides, you can put them back in the steamer for a few more minutes to finish them -- in the oven, they'd be likely to dry out.

Liberally cover the interior (exposed) portions of the lobster with parmesan cheese (and, if you like, roasted garlic puree). Put the two halves, exposed sides up, in a oven-proof dish, and put that under the broiler. It's done when the cheese has melted, which should be a minute or two. It's probably best to monitor this with the oven door open, because this lets you see the process better (also, it doen't matter if the oven door is open or not, because it's the heat from the broiler that's providing the cooking heat, not the heat of the oven as a whole). When it's done, pull it out and put it on a plate.

Now that we're back to the steak, all you have to do before serving is slice (as pictured). Serve the vegetables as a side. Put the steak (pictured here on a bed of tomatoes) on the same plate as the lobster, and voila! Surf 'n' Turf.


how come you don't invite me over for dinner?

Ah, memories of Boston...

OMG. Can I come over to eat sometime? ;)

I do my Hanger Steak in the pan, accompanied with thin-sliced shallots melted in a red wine and butter sauce.

Hmmm, how do you make people hungry for steak at 10AM???

Screw goin' out Thursday! You're gonna cook for us, right???



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