A salty, gingery, garlicky marinade does well on little bites of meat you dip and pop into your mouth. It’s an intense marinade – not one you’d want to bathe your steak in for too long – but it was perfect. After a dip, you cube your meat, crank up the heat under a skillet and sear the pieces in butter, which creates a wonderfully meaty browned-butter dribble to pour over your steak bites after you cook them, which only takes a few minutes.
Cooking steak bites is less stressful than a whole steak – once they’re nicely charred on all sides, they’re perfectly done in the middle. And with all that extra surface area, every bite has crispy bits.
Plus: it’s a perfect opportunity to hone your mayo-making skills and whip (literally) up some garlic aïoli for dipping. (But no one will mind if you cheat and add crushed garlic to a jar of mayo.)
STEAK BITES WITH GARLIC AÏOLI
The marinade comes from Barbecue Secrets Deluxe, by Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk – he says it’s also great with pork chops and rich, meaty fish like salmon, halibut and tuna.
4 well-marbled striploin steaks, an inch or so thick
1 cup dark soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper
butter, for cooking
Cut the steak into bite-sized (about 1-inch) pieces. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a glass baking dish, add the meat, turn to coat, and marinate for 10 minutes to half an hour, stirring once or twice. Do not marinate it overnight, as this is a fairly salty marinade.
Set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a blob of butter. When the foaming subsides, add the steak in batches, without crowding the pan, and leave for a minute or two to get a nice sear on the first side. Turn and cook for a few minutes, until golden all over. Transfer to a shallow bowl. When all the steak is cooked, drizzle the buttery juices from the bottom of the pan over them. Serve with garlic aioli.
Makes about 2/3 cup
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 teaspoon (or more) coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Mash garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small bowl until paste forms. Whisk in mayonnaise, olive oil, and lemon juice. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
How do you make aioli thicker?
Take your runny aioli out of the processor, add a brand new egg yolk or two, and process it for 1-2 minutes (yes, that’s right, and it’s key). I find this releases the coagulating power of the yolk more. (I make aioli three times a week.) Then, drizzle in the runny aioli mixture very slowly.
½ small clove garlic , peeled
freshly ground black pepper
1 large free-range egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
285 ml extra virgin olive oil
285 ml olive oil
lemon juice , to taste
Smash up the garlic with 1 teaspoon of salt in a pestle and mortar (or use the end of a rolling pin in a metal bowl). Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk together, then start to add your oils bit by bit. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts. When the mixture thickens, add lemon juice. When all the oil has gone in, add the garlic and any extra flavours (see above). To finish off, season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit more lemon juice, if needed.
Try this: Lemon -or basil- flavoured aioli is good with salads, all types of fish, and in seafood soups. It’s also great with roasted fish, chicken or pork, and is a classic with salmon.