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Strip Steak with Oysters and Rockefeller Butter

from Lobel's Meat Bible
Strip Steak with Oysters and Rockefeller Butter

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), 8 of the tablespoons well chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallion
Half clove garlic, sliced
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh
flat-leaf parsley
1 cup loosely packed chopped watercress (tough stems removed)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Pernod, or similar anise-flavored spirit
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
12 to 18 shucked oysters, stray shell bits removed, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon oyster liquor reserved Freshly ground black pepper
One 1-inch-thick, 12- to 14-ounce boneless strip steak, trimmed and cut in two equal portions, or two 1-inch-thick tenderloin steaks (filet mignon), about 5 ounces each
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in Lobel's Meat Bible
from Chronicle Books


Most familiar to late nineteenth and early twentieth-century diners, the pairing of beef and oysters is unusual but fabulously delicious. Ask your fishmonger if he's willing to shuck the oysters for you and reserve the oyster liquor. Try to have this done on the day you will be serving the dish; shucked oysters don't keep very well and the fresher they are, the better. This recipe makes more Rockefeller Butter than you'll need, but it's great as an instant sauce for chicken, fish, and vegetables. We call for strip steak or filet mignon here, but nearly any tender steak can be substituted.

1. To make the Rockefeller Butter, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter (not chilled) in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the celery, fennel, scallion, garlic, parsley, watercress, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook gently without browning for 4 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the Pernod and 1/4 cup oyster liquor and cook until evaporated.

2. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the bowl of a food processor and let cool slightly. Add the Tabasco and the 5 tablespoons chilled butter and process, pulsing at first, until smooth and well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pack the flavored butter in a ramekin or roll it up in a large piece of plastic into a sausage shape. Refrigerate until firm.

3. Put 1 tablespoon of remaining oyster liquor and the oysters in a medium skillet along with 1 generous tablespoon of Rockefeller Butter. Set the skillet aside. Put 4 tablespoons of Rockefeller Butter, in 3 or 4 pieces, on a small plate and reserve in the refrigerator. Preheat dinner plates.

4. Generously salt and pepper the steaks. Preheat a small, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the oil, swirling to coat the skillet. Add the steaks and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 4 minutes per side for mediumrare. Transfer the steaks to heated plates.

5. Place the skillet with the oysters over medium heat, swirling to distribute the butter. Cook until just heated through and the edges of the oysters curl, 2 to 4 minutes (depending on size), turning carefully with tongs or a soup spoon halfway through. Turn off the heat and add the chilled 4 tablespoons butter, swirling the skillet to melt and emulsify the butter. Spoon the butter and oysters over the steaks and serve.

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