Wed., Jan. 31st: Grass-Fed Teres Major (Petit Filets) Steaks, Smashed Marble Potatoes & Cicoria Ripassata alla Romana (Sautéed Chicory) – ($18 Per Person / Time to Cook: 30 min. / Cook by Day: Monday)
Celebrating the “Invention” of the Teres Major. We live in such a remarkable age of technological invention, whether it’s the Echo, Facebook, or the iphone. However, this Age of Technology has overlooked some of the great advancements in others fields….such as the invention of new steaks! Wait, what? Cows have been domesticated for 6,000 years, so how can a new steak be invented?
Remember the “Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner” campaign with the voiceovers first from Robert Mitchum and then later by Sam Elliot? Well, that was part of the Beef Checkoff Program, which was created by Congress in 1985 with the passage of the “Beef Promotion and Research Act,” meant to increase the domestic and/or international demand for beef. As part of that legislation, researchers at the Universities of Nebraska and Florida received a grant in 2002 to “discover” new and flavorful cuts of meat from the cow’s primary muscle groups.
These PhD’s of Meat (technically, Animal Sciences) focused on the Chuck Clod, or the 25 lbs primal cut of meat from the cow’s shoulder, which includes the subprimal cuts of the Chuck Eye Roll and the Underblade. The researcher came up with 3 new steaks: the Denver Flat, the Flat Iron, and the Teres Major (For all you Meat Nerds out there, the underblade is made up of three muscles: the rhomboideus, the splenius and the serratus ventralis – that is a lot of Latin, “Mulier Fortis Es!”). These steaks have the best of both worlds, because they are both tender like the tenderloin, but are fully marbled like the chuck roast (which is typically braised or ground into hamburger).
Here they are (and thanks to all those Beef Marketers out there….each have many different names):
Denver Flat: (Denver cut, Denver Chuck Steak, Boneless Chuck Short Rib, Underblade steak, Underblade Center). From the Underblade, the Denver Flat is a true steak, defined as meat cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers, or grain, and has 2.25x the marbling of the tenderloin. In a nod to its tenderness, Japanese Chefs refer to the cut at a Zabuton, which is a Zen Meditation Cushion.
Flat Iron (Top Blade Steak, Patio Steak, Butlers’ Steak, Oyster Blade). The Flat Iron, an unusual steak in that it is cut with the grain, similar to skirt and flank steaks, is from the chuck shoulder clod. A whole roast weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is usually cut into 4 steaks that look like mini flank steaks.
Teres Major (Petit Filet, Shoulder Tender). Also from the Underblade, this is the second most tender cut of meat on the cow next to the tenderloin. The main difference is the marbling, and thus, a more intense flavor. This cut is small at about 10-14oz., and is normally served as medallions (rounds).
We will be simply pan roasting (or grilling) the Denver Flat Iron Steak to be accompanied by Maître D’Hôtel Butter (butter, parsley, lemon juice), to let this flavorful cut stand on its own. We will be accompanying the meal with sauteed Romano Beans, which are only in season for a few more weeks, and Smashed Marble Potatoes.