Beef & Broccoli

Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

Submitted by Chef Max Hull and Mei Li of Mei Mei Street Kitchen, Boston
This delicious dish can be made with any number of cuts of beef, but just be sure it’s from a wonderful, local, pasture-raised cow, ideally dry-aged for at least 30 days. Recommended, very-flavorful cuts are flap steak (or bavette), skirt, flank, hanger, tri-tip, shank, tongue, heart, short rib, brisket or chuck. Ribeye, strip steak, and tenderloin are too tender for this preparation, so we don’t suggest them. The recipe for the sauce will yield far more than you need for this dish, but it is delicious and good on almost anything.

Serves 4 generously

1 small hot chili, like japones, Serrano or jalapeño, sliced into thin strips
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
¾ cup reduced meat stock or chicken broth
⅓ cup blackstrap molasses
¾ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup Chinkiang black vinegar (available at most Asian markets, or substitute one part balsamic vinegar, one part rice vinegar, and three parts water)
¾ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (we use Squid or Red Boat brands)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer 20 minutes. Check for thickness and reduce further if you like; it should be a thick, sticky sauce.

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Safflower oil, for cooking
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt, to taste
1 grapefruit or lime
1 small bunch cilantro, with blossoms if possible

Heat ½ cup oil in a shallow fry pan until small bubbles are released when you dip the handle of a wooden spoon in (about 350°F). Toss in garlic slices and fry until lightly golden. Drain thoroughly on paper towel, pour off the oil from the skillet and wipe it out with paper towels.

Heat another ½ cup oil in the same pan and sauté panko and minced garlic over medium low heat until golden brown. Season with salt to taste.

Zest the grapefruit or lime and set aside (reserve the fruit for another use). Pluck the leaves from the cilantro stems and set aside until ready to serve.

To Assemble:
2 pounds beef from one of the cuts suggested above, very thinly sliced (roughly 2” x 1” x ¼", even thinner if using a very tough cut of meat)
1 large head broccoli, sliced into long, thin florets that include the stalk
Safflower oil, for cooking
Reserved sauce
Reserved garnishes

Heat oven to 200°F.

Fill a large saucepan with cooking oil until broccoli slices can be completely submerged (i.e. deep fried), and heat to roughly 350°F. Deep fry broccoli until the florets are golden; drain and sprinkle with salt to taste. You may have to do this in batches; keep fried broccoli warm in the oven as you finish cooking it and the beef.

In a shallow frying pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and sear slices of beef over medium high heat, about one minute per side. You may have to do this in batches, too. Season with salt to taste as you remove it from the pan.

For each serving, place fried broccoli and beef on a plate in a neat line. Drizzle 1–2 tablespoons of sauce over the top until they are thoroughly covered. Garnish with panko, a scant teaspoon of grapefruit or lime zest per plate, a handful of cilantro leaves (and blossoms, if you have them) and one clove’s worth of fried garlic. Serve immediately.