pork shoulder steaks with sage butter
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There is no end of trouble with pork steaks. The loin cuts that are the most common, and thought to be the best, are unbelievably dry. The tenderloin is not really a steaking cut; a little like some consider beef fillet to be the least appealing of the steak family. The ham – is the ham and although I have had it steaked, chopped, cutletted and so on, it isn’t the most suited for that exercise mainly due to its shape – unwieldy.
Pork shoulder is probably my favourite bit of pig. It needs to be marbled with nice, white, clean fat shaping eyelets of pink meat without any nasty veining around. One end of the shoulder cut is the loin end which I actually consider inferior. The neck end is what the Italians make into coppa (called capocollo in central and southern Italy) – in my view the most delicious cold cut of meat, Parma ham included.
Pig shoulder can be cooked slow and forever or flash-grilled, similarly to cheaper cuts of lamb. There is no medium or well-done option: if you cook it longer than a flash, it will go tough unless you stick it into the oven for hours.
I usually ask the butcher to cut a couple of thick slices off a roasting shoulder joint. The slices tend to fall apart a bit and – as pork is wont to do – twist and writhe on the grill, insisting on turning into cups rather than lie flat. Hence the bamboo skewering in the recipe – it just helps the steaks behave and keep straight.
pork shoulder steaks with sage butterServings: 2Time: 30 minutes
- 2 pork steaks cut from shoulder, about 1 inch thick
- salt and pepper
- For the sage butter:
- 5g dried wild mushrooms
- 2 sprigs of fresh sage
- 50g butter, softened
- 2 large pinches of salt
1. Skewer the pork steaks with a couple of meat pins or bamboo skewers horizontally across, to help them remain flat while cooking. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. To make the sage butter blitz all the ingredients except for a few sage leaves in a blender; scrape onto cling film, shape into a sausage and chill until firm.
3. Preheat the oven to 100C/225F/minimum gas with a large baking tray on middle rack. Brush a griddle or frying pan with oil and heat up until smoking. Turn the heat down to medium.
4. Cook the steaks for 6 minutes on each side. Transfer them to the oven for at least 10 minutes. In the meantime fry the reserved sage leaves in the residual heat on the griddle.
5. Slice pats of the sage butter and place one on each steak; garnish with the fried sage and serve.