Onglet isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but looks can be deceiving: this is a bee-yoo-ti-ful steak, flavour-wise. One of the best. And as cheap as the chips you serve it with.
This magnificent specimen cost £9 from my local farmers’ market. Once trimmed of fat and sinew, it made four 1cm steaks. That’s £2.25 per steak. I know this because I paid attention at school. And I have a calculator.
But the real beauty of onglet (that’s what the French call it, but it’s also known as thick skirt, hanger or butcher’s cut) is the taste.
Onglet is a muscle that hangs beneath the diaphragm of the cow, near the kidneys, so it has an intense offally flavour. It has a coarse, striated, grainy texture, which makes it very tough and chewy if overcooked.
The key to making the most of it is two-fold:
1) Butcher it correctly, and..
2) Cook it correctly.
Onglet comes as two large, loose-grained muscles stuck together side to side joined by a very tough string of connective tissue and a wrapping of silverskin. You need to use a very sharp knife to separate the muscles, remove the white connective string and then trim away the silverskin.
Next, cut each muscle into two (optional) then use the ridged side of a meat hammer to give the steaks a few good bases to tenderise them.
Now, heat a griddle or frying pan until it’s smoking hot. Oil the steaks (not the pan) and cook the steaks for no more than 1 minute each side – and, even better – for me, at least – just 30 seconds per side.
This is crucial. Any longer, and you’re chewing the sole of a boot. And if you don’t like your steaks rare, onglet is most definitely not for you.
I served these steaks with deep-fried straw potatoes and an amazing Umami mushroom sauce, made with mushrooms, beef stock, dried rosemary and strong blue cheese.