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Michael Anthony's Sirloin and Winter Vegetables

kept byNonie

The Chef: Michael Anthony. His Restaurants: Gramercy Tavern in New York

What He's Known For: A fine-dining take on hyper-seasonal American cuisine. Treating foie gras and fingerling potatoes with equal respect.

Here, a streamlined version of that annual celebratory spread serves as the second of the chef's four Slow Food Fast contributions, just in time for New Year's Eve.

Thick sirloin with a well-caramelized exterior and a pink and juicy interior stands in for the more unwieldy, time-consuming, bone-in côte de boeuf. Served alongside the meat are a velvety celery root purée and an aromatic cabbage sauté flecked with cumin and caraway seeds. "Simple, but not condescending," Mr. Anthony said, this dish, like the cooking at his Manhattan restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, is "designed to be straightforward so it leaves an indelible mark." In this case, the result is a plate that feels extravagant but not at all fussy.

When it comes to the sirloin, the pan should be so hot it is beginning to smoke before the meat goes into it—this, Mr. Anthony said, is the key to a proper sear. Once the steaks are cooking, reduce the heat slightly. "You want to maintain a great sizzle," he said, "lively, but in control."

Following Mr. Anthony's blueprint, this banquet for four comes together in just a little over a half hour, which makes it a realistic choice for a weeknight meal as well as a special occasion. This kind of honest home cooking has always informed how the chef works, even in a fine dining context. He explained, "It is what makes for lasting food memories."

Yield: 4


4 cups sheep or goat milk, room temperature

4 sirloin steaks, each 1½ inches thick (about 2 pounds total)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 large celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 teaspoons grapeseed oil

1 sprig thyme or rosemary

½ head red or Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon caraway seeds

2 teaspoons chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add 2 cups milk to a saucepan and set over high heat. Simmer until reduced by two-thirds, about 20 minutes. Season steaks with salt and pepper. 2. Make celery root purée: In a medium pot set over medium heat, add sweat celery root, shallots and 3 cloves garlic. Once vegetables begin to soften but not brown, after about 3 minutes, cover with milk (about 2½ cups). Increase heat and bring to a boil, then simmer until celery root is fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Strain vegetables and reserve cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to food processor and purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in enough reduced milk to give purée a silky consistency. If need be, thin with reserved cooking liquid, too. Season purée with salt and keep warm. 3. Cook steaks: Add grapeseed oil to a large pan set over high heat. Once oil begins to smoke, carefully lay in steaks. Brown both sides, about 2 minutes per side, and then lower heat slightly to maintain a steady sizzle. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 2 cloves garlic and herb sprig. Continue to cook while basting steaks with butter, garlic and herbs until rare, 1-2 minutes more. Discard herbs and garlic and let meat rest 10 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, make cabbage: Set steak pan back over high heat. Once hot, add cabbage, cumin and caraway to pan. Season with salt and cook until slightly wilted, 3-5 minutes. Toss cabbage with ½ tablespoon butter and chives. Remove from heat. 5. Distribute steak, purée and cabbage among four plates. Serve warm.



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