The “picanha”—or top sirloin—beef cut is booming at the moment due to its popularity at Brazilian-style steakhouses. Here, it is seared, sliced and served with a stunning array of sides, including “fries” made from cornmeal instead of potatoes.
FOR THE PICANHA
- Season the meat with salt and pepper. In a cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil. Sear the steak on both sides and cook until just over rare, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a rack to rest.
FOR THE SOFRITO
- In a medium sauté pan, heat the canola and olive oils over medium heat. Add half the diced onion, peppers and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add remaining diced onion and peppers and the corn, and cook for another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
FOR THE PEPPER SAUCE
- Coat the red pepper with ½ ounce olive oil and roast over an open flame until black. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let sit 10 minutes, then peel and seed. In a blender, combine roasted pepper, garlic, brown sugar, and 1 ounce olive oil and blend until smooth. In a small pan over medium heat, cook the tomato paste for 2 minutes.
- Add the pepper purée and smoked paprika and blend in the pan; cook for 1 minute. Add the Marsala wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Strain through a chinois. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
FOR THE CORNMEAL FRIES
- In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the milk, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Slowly add the cornmeal and cook until thickened. Add the cheese and blend until smooth.
- On a small square sheet pan, spread some of the olive oil out to all sides of the pan. Spread the cornmeal mixture out on the pan to a ½-inch thickness and let cool. When hard, pop the cornmeal mixture out of the pan and cut into 3⁄8-by-3-inch pieces. Dredge the “fries” in flour. In a small pan, heat the oil over high heat.
- Dip fries in the oil and fry on all sides until crisp, about 1 minute on each side. Drain and set aside.
- Swirl the red pepper sauce on a plate. Add the sofrito, slice the steak and arrange beside the sofrito. Add the fries and garnish with fresh herbs.