A flavorful compromise on carpaccio

  • By J.M. Hirsch Associated Press
  • Tuesday, April 16, 2013 10:49am
  • Life

My 8-year-old has very set notions of what constitutes a great steak. It has to be rare and it has to be sweet.

The rare part he takes to an extreme. He’d prefer if the cow meandered into our kitchen and he could just take a fork to it.

The sweet part he is more moderate about. He likes a mild sweetness. Nothing as brash as full-on sweet-and-sour sauce (not even on chicken). And no brown sugar-spiked rubs. That sort of assertiveness interferes with his appreciation of the rare part.

Over time I have experimented to find just the right balance of rare and sweet. An obvious answer has always been carpaccio, an Italian dish of thinly sliced and lightly seasoned raw steak. And while I have made him this at various times — much to his joy — it does pose a dilemma.

When I make dinner, I like to plan to have leftovers. I use those leftovers to pack my son’s lunch the next day. But while I don’t have a problem feeding my son raw steak at the dinner table, packing it in his lunch — where it will sit for hours before being consumed — really does strike me as a poor parenting decision.

So I developed a compromise: a recipe for a steak that preserves the essence of carpaccio, but adds both the texture and taste of a light sear to the exterior.

For sweetness, I give the steaks a brief bath in mirin, a sweet Japanese cooking wine (available in the grocer’s Asian aisle). A bit of salt and coarsely cracked pepper, and you’re good.

How to serve this? Keep it simple. Some fresh baguette, a bit of cheese and a fresh salad really are all it takes to turn this into a meal.

Also, I like to make this with bison steaks (now widely available at most grocers) because it is extremely lean and tender.

That combination — plus its generally more assertive flavor — makes it an ideal candidate for this sort of minimalist cooking. But feel free to substitute your preferred cut of beef steak.

Kind of carpaccio

  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 6-ounce bison steaks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mirin, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the steaks, turning to coat evenly, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.

When ready to cook, in a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until very hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear on each side for 11/2 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

Once the steaks have rested, thinly slice them across the grain. Fan the slices onto 2 serving plates, then seasoned with salt and pepper. Squeeze 1 or 2 lemon wedges over each.

Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 290 calories; 90 calories from fat (31 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 105 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 37 g protein; 570 mg sodium.

More in Life

Shrimp and grits, rendered healthful and Italian? We’re in.

This recipe features a sauce made with olive oil, tomatoes and herbs instead of cheese and cream.

UFO at Paine Field playground was left by an artist — not aliens

The flying saucer at community park in Everett is a cosmic attraction.

Chef James Abbott makes Buck’s peanut butter pie at Buck’s American Cafe in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Fur & Feathers: 4 lovable dogs need homes

Meet Lola, Sadie, Scooter and Chance

Sweet baking tips: How to rescue brown sugar that’s turned hard

Soften the rock solid stuff, then try this recipe for chocolate chunk cookies with sea salt.

Valentina Bogdanova, 74, loves working in the gardens that nearly surround the Bakerview Apartments, where she has lived for 20 years. The units are among 16 affordable and subsidized properties leased to seniors by the Everett Housing Authority. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
As real estate booms, those with fixed-incomes need help

When senior citizens get housing, they are able to ‘age in place.’

Melania Trump to donate inaugural ball gown to Smithsonian

Melania Trump is donating her inaugural ball gown… Continue reading

Harry Potter exhibit marks 20th anniversary of first book

Many of the things Harry Potter fans thought were imaginary were actually based in fact — or folklore.

Visiting Germany’s Lutherland, birthplace of Reformation

The sights include the church where the first Protestant service took place in 1521.

Most Read