Butcher’s steak—or hanger steak—reminds me of two things: My youth, when to my child’s mind it was the only cut that existed, and camping.
My best friend’s parents would take us two antsy, adventurous kids on weekend trips anywhere from Yosemite to the Yuba. The days were long and hot. We’d slide down smooth river rocks by day and watch amber coals burn for hours in the fire pit (while my shoe soles slowly melted) by night. And their steak of choice, the hanger, filled the campsite with beefy smoke until it was dark, caramelized, and probably a touch over-cooked. On the cooler side of the fire pit were tin foil-wrapped potato wedges, whole garlic cloves, and onions that would roast until soft, tender, and spewing out sweet onion juices.
They’d add ‘strange’ yet tasty things to the roasted potatoes. Once it was a green sauce, which I now know was salsa verde; another time it was chopped salty things such as capers or olives; and other times, what I thought were ‘old tomatoes,’ which I now know were the oil-packed, sun dried kind.
Sun-dried tomatoes may seem like some sort of relic of the 80s and 90s, but just because they were overused then, like Edison bulbs in the aughts and tahini in 2018, doesn’t mean they aren’t still delicious and versatile. Sun-dried tomatoes at their best are slowly dried in the sun before being packed in fruity extra-virgin olive oil. They should taste intensely sweet, bright, a touch briny, and definitely tart.
Here, I pair intense sun-dried tomato flavor bombs with the brightness of fresh tomatoes for a sauce that brings out the umami-packed flavor of hanger steak. And since I’m a big fan of quick pan sauces, this sauce comes together in about 10 minutes and includes a bit of anchovy, which serves as a light yet sturdy umami footbridge to the beefy steak.
With just a little wine, some of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, and parsley and this sauce comes alive, loosens, and coats everything it touches with a balance of umami sweetness.
There are a trillion other steak cuts out there, but hanger steak is still one of my favorites. It’s not super spendy and stands up to very high heat in a pan (like in this recipe) or on the grill. I think this cut (and most steak cuts) are best cooked to medium rare or medium, but beyond medium it gets chewy and I recommend using a different cut. Or maybe just stop eating beef in general if you like cooking it beyond medium.
Adapt this recipe to your tastes and what’s on hand. If you want, add something starchy such as roasted potatoes, grilled bread, couscous, or even a vegetable such as broccolini to this dish. This sauce goes with it all.
You don’t have to make this by a campfire, but you certainly can if you want. Just be careful with your soles.Print
1 pound hanger, butcher’s or your choice steak
Kosher salt (preferably Diamond Crystal brand, others are more salty)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
1 large shallot (about 1 ounce)
2 garlic cloves (about 1⁄2 ounce)
1 small red jalapeno, halved and seeded (about 3⁄4 ounce)
3 anchovy filets
1⁄4 cup white wine such as pinot grigio
5 ounces olive oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained
8 ounces cherry, mixed small or sungold tomatoes
1⁄4 cup roughly chopped parsley
Maldon or other flaky salt
- Season the steak: with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set it aside at room temperature.
- Prepare the salsa: by finely chopping the shallot, garlic, jalapeno, and anchovy. Roughly chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Set all this aside.
- Heat a large skillet: over medium high heat. Once hot, add the grapeseed oil to the pan. Once the oil is heated and shimmery add the steak to the pan and cook. turning occasionally, until deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 130 degrees for medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Once done cooking, transfer to a cutting board.
- Wipe out the pan: with a paper towel and turn heat down to medium. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil. Once warm add the shallots, garlic, jalapeno and anchovy, stirring occasionally. Once simmering, add the white wine and let come to a simmer again then add sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until the sun-dried tomatoes are warmed through and a little softer.
- Turn off the heat: and add the cherry tomatoes, parsley and 2 more tablespoons of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Mix everything well to combine.
- Slice steak: against the grain and sprinkle with flake salt. Serve with the tomato(es) salsa.
Christian Reynoso is a chef, recipe developer and writer. Originally from Sonoma, he lives in San Francisco.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Pan-seared
- Cuisine: Californian
- Serving Size: 2-4
Keywords: hanger steak, sun-dried tomatoes