Annie and I were supposed to get together to cook for a little
impromptu dinner gathering this past Sunday and while browsing for
seasonal inspiration in the Sunday Suppers at Lucques
cookbook I came across this recipe. I was intrigued. I loved the idea
of black olive aioli. I was sort of craving red meat. And hash made from baby artichokes? Now I've heard everything!
You don't hear much about hash these days. And with good reason. The hash I remember from my childhood came from a can. I remember it to be a depressing pink, the color of baloney, dotted with suspicious little white chunks. It had more than a passing resemblance to dog food. My mother, bless her heart, enjoyed it with a fried egg on top. Just the sight of the bright yellow yolk oozing in and around the little meaty hills and valleys that covered her plate sent me reaching for the Cheerios.
I came to reconsider hash as a breakfast treat when Mark and I were first dating. Every weekend we'd go out for brunch, and two of our favorite cafes both had interesting, modern takes on hash that had nothing to do with a can. Doughboys, located on 3rd street, serves a hash made from braised beef, sweet potatoes and beets which they brown and top with fried eggs. Kokomo Cafe, located in the Farmer's Market, makes theirs out of ground turkey, shredded potatoes, beets, parmesan and fresh basil. They crown theirs with eggs too, but theirs are poached.
The word "hash" comes from the French word "hasher" which means to chop and over the years has come to refer to a dish of "odds and ends," usually leftover meat and potatoes, that is chopped into small pieces and fried together. Although I don't eat potatoes very often, this somewhat unconventional use of artichokes seemed like an appealing venue for this prehistoric looking bud.
(For the steak)
2 pounds skirt steak
3 chiles de arbol, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
(For the Artichoke-Potato Hash)
12 baby artichokes
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs of thyme
2/3 cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 handfull of arugula, cleaned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
(For the Black Olive Aioli)
1 extra-large egg yolk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(or if you do not plan on making the aioli from scratch, 1 cup of mayonnaise)
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup pitted oil-cured black olives,
1/2 lemon, for juicing
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the skirt steak of excess fat and sinew, if any. Season the skirt steak with the sliced chiles, rosemary, thyme and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Next make the aioli. I followed the book's instruction on how to make mayonnaise from scratch but after three failed attempts, the details of which are too painful to get into, I decided to just use store-bough mayonnaise. I'm sorry Suzanne. Please forgive me.
Mince the garlic clove. Finely chop half of the olives and then using the side of the knife, smash the olives into the cutting board, forming a paste. Roughly chop the remaining olives. Fold the minced garlic, the olive paste and the chopped olives into the mayonnaise. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, a small squeeze of lemon juice, and the cayenne pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning. It tastes amazing, even if it IS store bought mayonnaise.
To make the hash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Place in a roasting dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast for about 45 minutes, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the artichokes. Cut off the top third of the artichokes and remove the tough outer leaves. Using a vegetable peeler, trim the bottom of the stem and the stalks. Cut each artichoke in half and using a small spoon, remove the fuzzy choke if there one. As you work, immerse the artichokes in a large bowl of cold water and the juice of 1 or 2 lemons, so they do not discolor. Be sure to drain and dry them well before cooking.
Heat a large saute pan (we used two), over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of oil to the pan and then wait for 1 minute. Add the artichokes and season with 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a grinding of pepper. Turn the heat to medium and saute for about 10 minutes tossing often, until the artichokes are golden brown.
Remove the artichokes from the heat and after they've cooled a little, cut them into large chunks. Once the potates have cooled, cut them into large chunks and squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins and set aside.
Wipe out the pan the artichokes were sauteed in and return it to the stove and heat it over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in 1/4 cup of oil and wait a minute. Add the potatoes to the pan and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper. To get the potatoes nicely browned and crisp on the outside, do not overcrowd them in the pan. We used two pans. Don't be temped to stir the potatoes too much, that will prevent them from getting the good brown crust. It should take 6 to 8 minutes to get a good crust on one side. Stir the potatoes and continue to cook until they are browned all over.
Once the potatoes are golden brown on all sides, turn the heat down to medium and add the shallots, artichokes, and roasted garlic. Toss well and sautee the hash together for 5 to 6 minutes until the artichokes are hot and the shallots are translucent.
Toss in the chopped parsley just before serving.
To cook the steak, remove from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before grilling so that it comes back to room temperature. Season the steak with salt and drizzle or brush lightly with olive oil.
Light your charcoal grill 30 to 40 minutes before cooking and removing the steak from the refrigerator. When the coals are broken down, red and glowing place the meat on the hotest part of the grill and cook for 2 minutes to get a nice sear. Turn the meat over and move to a cooler part of the grill and cook for another minute or two for medium rare. Remove the meat and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
We used a gas grill and since our steaks were pretty thin I only cooked them for one minute on the first side and then when I flipped them I just turned off the grill and let the residual heat cook it the rest of the way. They were cooked perfectly to my liking - pink and bloody on the inside.
To serve, slice the meat very thinly at an angle against the grain to ensure that it's tender, not rubbery. Spoon some of the artichoke-hash onto a plate and scatter over a little arugula. Lay the steak slices over the hash and spoon some of the black olive aioli over the steak. We had it with crisp, skinny spears of grilled baby asparagus.
The skirt steak was flavorful and perfectly cooked but perhaps the highlight of our little home-made Lucques supper was the artichoke-potato hash, receiving raves from all parties present. The potatoes were fantastically golden and crisp, the artichokes were beautifully caramelized yet tender and the soft shallots were a nice variation on the expected onion. Although it complimented the steak wonderfully, we all agreed that the hash would be amazing on it's own with just a poached egg on top and perhaps a link or two of turkey sausage. When I open my restaurant (which I plan on calling Brunchateria) it most definately will be on my breakfast menu.
Rivaling the hash as the best part of the meal is the black olive aioli. In the book Suzanne writes "Though mayonnaise might sound strange as an accompaniment for steak, the aioli melts into a creamy sauce, leaving behind a trail of olives." And let me assure you, despite all the disappointment and heartache the aioli initially cause me, it was a hit. Earthy and sort of smokey with just a hint of heat and garlic, it works brilliantly with the tender, rare steak.
I know this dish seems to have quite a few steps, but the aioli incident notwithstanding, it is a pretty easy meal to make, just a bit time consuming. I suppose there's a reason the book is called "Sunday Suppers at Lucques." The assumption that you'll be cooking all day is implied in the title. But the nice thing about this meal is that most of the steps can be done in advance, which makes it a great candidate for entertaining. The steak can be seasoned the night before as can the aioli. The potatoes can be roasted and the artichokes can be prepped and sauteed ahead of time, and then just before serving, the two can be sauteed together to make the hash. And the steaks take literally no time all all to cook.