I was in a butcher’s in France recently. Anybody from Ireland or Brexit will agree that the French have a very strange way of butchering their meat. It’s very different to our approach. One cut that we agree on is called the bavette. It comes from the flank of the animal. The naming convention falls down when one goes further afield. In the US, they call it the London broil or flap meat. London broil is also a name for a top round steak, a completely different cut of meat. It’s also a cooking method. I don’t know about you but “flap meat” doesn’t do anything for my appetite. Bavette sounds reasonably exotic to my ear. So, back to the game in hand – Bavette Sous Vide.
I bought a 1.2 kilo piece of bavette recently. The butcher advising me to flash fry it and not to let it overcook. This is good advice for anybody wishing to fry a bavette. They really do toughen up if they stay too long on the pan. However, a couple of hours in the sous vide at 55.4ºC produces a delicious bit of meat that can be finished in the pan.
- 1.2 kilo piece of bavette
- A couple of cloves of garlic
- A handful of thyme
- Butter for frying
- Salt and pepper to season
Cut the meat into pieces that will fit into a vacuum bag. Season very well with salt and pepper.
Vacuum seal the meat and place it in a water bath at 55.4ºC for two hours. Remove from the bag and pat dry.
Side note on time and temperature: I have cooked bavette at 55.4º for forty eight hours. The meat ends up very tender indeed and very juicy. However, in my experience, it is too delicate and tends to fall apart a bit. I prefer it with a bit of bite. The two hours achieves this result.
Heat a cast iron pan quite hot and add a generous amount of butter. Before the butter burns, add the beef and brown on both sides. During the process, add the garlic and thyme to the pan.
Spoon the butter over the meat and rub it generally with the garlic and the thyme. Don’t leave it too long on the pan. Remove to a cutting board and carve into thin slices ,across the grain (very important), before serving.
I served this, as part of a multi course meal, with some fried onions. The onions took longer to cook than the steak. Good fried onions do take a long time. But, that’s another story altogether. Give this seldom bought cut a go. It is quick and easy to cook and the end result is very tasty, no matter what you call it.