Growing up in Italy, steak was inevitably served grilled with olive oil and lemon as an easy preparation perfect for summertime outdoor dining.
But as summer recedes and we head indoors, I like a richer, more substantial preparation of my steak, and so I start turning my mind towards the French way with food, where things are built up more and more likely to be sauced. In this recipe, pepper-crusted steak is seared, sliced, and served over braised endives and alongside a horseradish crème fraîche. Sounds complicated, but once the endive is cooked and the steak is seared off and rested, it’s a quick dish to put together, suitable for a fancy dinner or just a very comforting Sunday night meal, and it tastes and looks fancier than it actually is. —Sara Jenkins
great steaks (I recommend rib eye cut at least 1-inch thick, but this will work with just about any steak you fancy)
Ideally, I like to rub the steaks with the pepper and let rest overnight, then bring back to room temperature before searing. If you forget or run out of time, rub them with the pepper and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
About half an hour before you are ready to cook the steaks, prepare the endive. Preheat the oven to 375° F and get a heavy-bottomed sauté pan heating on the stove
Slice the endive in half lengthwise, trimming away any bruised or wilting leaves. Melt the butter in the sauté pan and when completely melted and beginning to foam, add the endive cut side down (if they don’t all fit in the pan, do this in batches). Season with salt and let the endive get good and golden on the cut side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the endive to a shallow roasting pan in a single layer, cut side up.
Meanwhile, add the orange juice and chicken stock to the sauté pan and bring to a boil. Pour over the endive in the roasting pan and cover with tinfoil. Bake in the oven until tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
Make the horseradish dressing: Whisk the lemon zest and juice into the crème fraîche. Add a tablespoon of Microplaned horseradish and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust. I really like the flavor of the horseradish to dominate, so add some more if it's too mild.
When the endive are close to done, get a cast-iron pan large enough to comfortably fit both steaks heating on the stove. Let it get really really hot. Pour the two tablespoons of olive oil in the pan and then add the steaks. Let them sear hard on one side about 5 to 7 minutes. When you have a nice brown crust, flip them over and season liberally with salt. Sear for another 4 to 6 minutes, long enough to form a brown crust on the other side. Turn the heat down and cook a little longer to the desired internal temperature. I like my steak at medium-rare, so it’s just a few more minutes depending on the thickness of the steak.
Remove the steaks and place to rest on a grooved wooden chopping board. Meanwhile, remove the endive from the oven and pour the braising liquid into the steak pan. Place the endive on a serving platter. Reduce the endive cooking juices in the pan until reduced by half and becoming thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Slice the steak in 1-inch wide pieces (if you slice the steak at an angle it will look prettier as you will show the contrast between pink inside and crusty brown outside) and arrange on the platter with the endive. Pour the cooking sauces over it all and garnish with a dollop of the crème fraîche horseradish sauce, passing more at the table.