12 (Sat) February 2011
Pan-Seared Ribeye Steak with Beurre Maître d’Hôtel
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Korea-
with the Family
Beurre Maître d’Hôtel is a French condiment. A type of compound butter, mixed with parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Usually rolled in parchment paper, chilled to harden, then served to melt on top of warm steak, fish, potatoes, bread.
So simple, so awesome.
At the supermarket, I was fortunate to discover that hanwoo ribeye was on sale at 5,000 won per 100 grams (about $20 per pound). With the recent outbreak of FMD across the country, media reports offer conflicting accounts as to whether local meat, both beef and pork, has experienced price hikes due to tight supply or cuts due to diminished demand. Either way, 5,000 won is pretty cheap by Korean standards. I’ve seen top-quality beef sell for more than quadruple that price. The steak here, about 400 grams (about 14 oz), cost 20,000 won just for the meat itself.
To the guy behind the counter, I requested 4 cuts, each 3 cm thick. He paused, a strange look on his face, not quite sure if he’d heard me correctly. When I confirmed, he asked what I was planning on doing with them. “Steak.” Now even more puzzled, he pointed to a tray of pre-cut ribeyes, each about 1 cm thick, and explained that they were “steak size” and suggested that they would be easier to cook. In the end, after reassurances on my part that I could handle the thickness, he shrugged his shoulders and complied with my order, though apparently unconvinced that anyone in his right mind would want a piece of meat that big.