Hanger Steak by Rick Tramonto

April 27, 2010 (CHICAGO) Serves 4

This is one of my favorite cuts - -well, unless I am offered a bone-in rib eye, which is also one of my favorites. Hanger steak is not very pretty and comes in two lumpy pieces connected by a tough sinew that should be disconnected and discarded. Hangers are also known as butcher's steaks because in the old days no one wanted such a homely-looking piece of meat and so the butchers took them home for their own families- -much to their delight. Today these cuts are extremely trendy and popular, and for good reason: Hanger steak is full bodied and downright delicious. It takes very well to being marinated.

2 hanger steaks, about 1 pound each, cleaned, trimmed, and jacquarded by a butcher
Balsamic Marinade (recipe below)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mushroom Jus (recipe below)

In a shallow baking dish, cover the steaks with the marinade. Gently rub it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 36 hours.

Prepare a clean, well-oiled charcoal or gas grill so that the coals or heat element are medium-hot. Or, heat the broiler.

Lift the steaks from the marinade and let the marinade drip into the dish. Brush the steaks with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Grill the steaks, turning 2 or 3 times, for a total of 12 to 14 minutes for medium-rare meat. Brush the steaks with the marinade during the first half of grilling. If the thin ends of the steaks are getting done before the thicker, turn the steaks so that the thin sections are on the outer, or cooler, part of the grill. Let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the jus over medium heat until very hot.

Slice the steaks against the grain, and divide among 4 serving plates or arrange on a platter. Spoon the jus over the steak and serve.

Balsamic Marinade
Makes about 3 and one-half cups, enough for 4 to 6 (12- to 16-ounce) steaks

In a glass, ceramic, or other nonreactive mixing bowl, stir together the vinegar, orange zest and juice, garlic, shallot, and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil until it comes together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Mushroom Jus
Makes about 2 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Veal Jus, demi-glace, or reduced chicken stock

In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the shallots and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.

Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms begin to exude their liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the veal jus, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the sauce comes together. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

--From Steak with Friends: At Home, with Rick Tramonto by Rick Tramonto with Mary Goodbody/Andrews McMeel Publishing.

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