The Big Idea: Steak and Horseradish is supposed to be a classic combination, right? And I often drink coffee just so I have something to put heavy cream in. So when I saw this recipeon Epicurious for steak with horseradish in heavy cream in my streak search last week, I knew I had a winner. The original recipe was more of an hors d’oeuvre, but I decided I’d take the cream and run with it along with a simply broiled steak and a simple sauteed green bean side.
The Steak: I went back to the broiler for this one, and exercised great patience in letting the broiler and the cast-iron pan pre-heat together for what seemed like a really long time. The steak rested with some salt and pepper during the wait. I tossed it in the pan for a few minutes, poked it, flipped it, and took it off to rest. It’s starting to seem easy.
I’m proud to say this is the first steak that I’ve cooked a little rarer than I was going for. Progress! In poking the steak before taking it off, I suspected that it was on the rarer side of rare, but didn’t want to risk overcooking and thought it might somehow cook itself more as it rested (I made a roast last week, which I think is where that latter idea came from.). It came out rarer than I would have requested a steak cooked, but was actually delicious. Win.
The Horseradish Cream: It’s always fun to find some new rooty looking thing in that section of the produce department where I have to read the labels to tell the galangal from the wild ginger from, in this case, the horseradish. This was a new ingredient for me, though I’ve had horseradish sauces before. I know some people are crazy about its sinus-clearing taste – one friend won’t consider eating any kind of steak without it – but I’ve always found it pleasant without being a rabid fan. This cream, though, is definitely the best horseradish preparation I’ve enjoyed.
It was very easy, too. I pretty much followed the recipe – whipped the heavy cream, grated the horseradish and put it in just enough white wine vinegar to wet it, and then mixed that into the cream with a bit of stone-ground mustard and just a half-shake of tarragon. I added the horseradish to taste, and made it pretty strong (probably an inch to an inch and a half of the root), and the strong taste was a great complement to the fluffiness of the cream.
Actually, the cream could have been fluffier if I hadn’t gotten distracted after turning the mixer on. By the time I got back to it, it had turned the corner and was heading for butter. This turned out fine, and actually made me think that over-whipped whipping cream might have been a good substitute for butter in the blue cheese butter I made for steak #5. That was just a little too rich, and that’s really saying something coming from me – I love rich.
The Side Sauteed green beans. Chopped off the ends. Sauteed them in butter. Done. Maybe I’ve been getting carried away with the sides for these last few steaks, because these were simple, easy, and great. They were good dipped in the horseradish cream, too.
The Verdict This one was an all-round win. My steak sense continues to develop, the steak was delicious, the side was delicious, and the horseradish cream was great. This was a very easy meal, too. The cream was the most labor-intensive part of the whole thing, and it probably took 8 minutes. It was also the most complicated part of the meal, in that it took the most ingredients and preparation, but the resulting flavor was pleasant and straight-forward. The blue cheese butter from last time took a similar amount of work, but with a less satisfying result.
Notes for Next Time
- Continue to work on poking the steak! Or rather, become more zen about poking the steak. I think I’ve been actually getting increasingly good at assessing doneness by touch, but I don’t always seem to trust my steak sense enough to act correctly based on that information. That happened with this steak – I correctly sensed based on my poking that the steak was somewhat underdone, but then took it off the heat anyway, because I was afraid of overcooking it. With steak number three, on the other hand, I did the reverse.
- Keep the sides simple.
- This horseradish cream was great – both the horseradishyness and the creaminess. Its success makes me want to consider both future horseradish preparations and future flavored creams. My father pointed out the virtue of serving these on the side, as well, rather than directly on the steak, where they would melt into a cream sauce.
- Assuming that I want to continue experimenting and won’t use it on the next steak, what should I do with the rest of this horseradish?
- What would be other good seasonings for steak garnishing creams?
- How do I achieve harmony of steak sense and action? Any other thoughts on cooking zen?