MEET THE SOUS CHEF
CHRIS ROBERTSON, SOUS CHEF, NORTH END GRILL
Chris Robertson, the sous-chef at New York City’s North End Grill, works in a restaurant, but his life sounds a lot like many of ours: a small child, a demanding job and a desire to eat good food at home. So when he talks about what he cooks at home, we listen.
His recipe for red wine-marinated skirt steak with broccoli rabe is completely flexible. You can use a variety of different cuts of beef; choose kale or swiss chard in place of the broccoli rabe; and cook the steak on a gas or charcoal grill rather than on the stovetop. Consider this recipe a blueprint for better dining.
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DAY IN THE LIFE
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Home Sweet Home
Robertson lives in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, with his wife, whom he met when they both worked in the kitchen at Tabla, and the pair's two-year-old daughter. "I try to have a life outside the restaurant," says Robertson, "but even my days off revolve around food." The three of them usually go out for brunch, hit the farmers' market and cook dinner at home.
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
Where's the Beef
Robertson uses this red wine marinade on tougher cuts of beef, such as skirt, hanger, flank, tri-tip or the “Denver steak,” which he buys at his local farmers’ market. When you’re standing at the butcher counter trying to decide, Robertson says, “buy what looks best. You’ll have a better meal in the end.”
Robertson subscribes to a CSA (community supported agriculture) and receives weekly boxes of vegetables from a favorite farm. Because he never knows exactly what the allotment will contain, he’s learned to adapt. In place of the broccoli rabe in this recipe, he recommends kale or Swiss chard.
Serves 2 (with leftover broccoli rabe)
Medium-bodied red wine, ¾ cup
Garlic, 2 small cloves (smashed) plus 8 whole medium cloves
Shallot, ½ medium (thinly sliced)
Freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon plus extra for seasoning
Skirt steak, two 6-ounce pieces (trimmed of extra fat)
Extra-virgin olive oil, 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons, divided
Red pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon
Broccoli rabe, 1 large bunch (tough stems removed and stalks cut into 3-inch-long pieces)
Water, 2 tablespoons
Canola oil, 1 tablespoon
Gallon-size resealable plastic bag or airtight container
Large pot or Dutch oven with a lid
1. In a gallon-size resealable plastic bag or airtight container, add the:
- Red wine
- Smashed garlic
- Sliced shallot
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- Skirt steaks
Seal the bag or container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
2. Meanwhile, make the garlic confit: In a small saucepan set over low heat, add the:
- Whole garlic cloves
- 1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
Cook until the garlic is soft but not browned and a paring knife easily slips into the center of a clove, 20 to 30 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to remove the garlic from the oil (save the oil for another time).
3. In a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, add:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Red pepper flakes
Cook until fragrant (take care not to let the red pepper flakes burn), 20 to 30 seconds. Add the:
- Broccoli rabe
Season to taste with:
- Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
Cover the pot and cook for 1 minute, then add the oil-poached garlic. Use the wooden spoon to quickly stir, cover and continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
4. Remove the steaks from the marinade and use paper towels to pat dry. Liberally season both sides with:
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
5. Set a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until nearly smoking, 1½ to 2 minutes. Add the:
- Canola oil
Add the seasoned steaks and sear until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Use tongs to transfer to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before slicing into thin strips crosswise and against the grain. Serve with the broccoli rabe.