NYT Project: Stir-Fried Beef

9 Jan

Stir-fried dishes are a great way to use up lots of ingredients in your fridge and are incredibly adaptable. You can pretty much throw any conceivable ingredient into your pan and make something tasty. So while they are not new to me, I have a bad habit of not getting my pan really, really hot to cook the meat. There’s something intimidating about cranking the dial on the stove to the highest setting, letting the oil get literally smoking hot and then tossing in my chosen ingredients for the day.  I think my fear is founded: I don’t want to burn anything, including myself.  Having said that, I know the major difference between restaurant food and home-cooked is heat (and butter).

So nuts to this, I thought, I’m going to do it the way I am supposed to do it! I am going to crank the heat up on this sucker and get a good sear on my flank steak! And I am going to wear long sleeves just in case. In the end, it was initially nerve-wracking but when I saw the beautiful crust on the steak, I was emboldened. Yes, it spattered a bit but I lived to tell the tale and the meat came out perfectly: nice crunch on the outside, just past rare on the inside.

Note:  this recipe is not exactly as it shown in the NYT Cookbook. I adapted it to suit my tastes and to become a full meal by adding rice noodles and peppers. I also found their original recipe for the sauce too salty, so I added some sugar. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t want it.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb flank or skirt steak, cubed
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tb  sugar
1 ts salt
1/4 ts pepper
1 tb canola oil
4 tb corn or canola oil
3/4 c rice wine vinegar
3/4 c dry white wine
2 tb soy sauce
1 tb fish sauce
2 tb sugar
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced
1 1/2 scallions, sliced lengthwise
1 tb butter
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Toss the beef in a bowl with the salt, sugar, garlic and 1 tb canola oil. Marinate in the fridge for two hours.
2. Meanwhile, combine the rice wine vinegar, white wine, soy,  fish sauce and sugar. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
3.  When you’re ready, divide the meat into two portions, and do the same with the peppers and onions. Pour 2tb oil into your wok and turn the heat to max. When your oil is smoking, add the meat in one even layer to the wok. Let it sit until a crust forms, then flip over to brown the other side.  (This whole process should take 5 minutes or less.)
4. Add half the onions and pepper. Stir and let cook for 1 minute.
5. Add half of your vinegar/wine mixture, shaking the pan if necessary to loosen the meat from the pan. Add half the butter and shake your wok until it has melted.
6. Remove everything from the pan and then repeat your process.
7. Serve with lime wedges over rice or rice noodles.

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