Rediscovering the Delmonico Steak: A Timeless Classic with a Twist

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Delmonico Steak

The Delmonico steak, an iconic dish that has stood the test of time, receives a modern makeover in this updated recipe. Prepare yourself for a culinary journey as we explore the origins of this legendary steak and transform it into a mouthwatering masterpiece. Get ready to savor every bite!

Why Delmonico’s Became a Legend

Back in 1827, the Delmonico brothers introduced the concept of the modern restaurant to the United States. Unlike the conventional eateries of the time, Delmonico’s offered customers the freedom to choose their desired dishes from a menu, rather than being confined to predetermined offerings. What started as a humble café quickly flourished into a trendy and fashionable dining destination in New York. It became the preferred haunt of prominent figures like Abraham Lincoln, who developed a particular fondness for Delmonico Potatoes, a delectable creation of creamy chopped or hash brown potatoes. Delmonico’s revolutionized the dining experience, setting the stage for a new era of culinary freedom and gastronomic excellence.

Delmonico
Photo by C R licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Delmonico “Steak Cut” Enigma

Around 1850, the menu at Delmonico’s saw the introduction of steak, sparking debates about the precise beef sections used for the iconic Delmonico steak recipe. Over the years, a variety of cuts, numbering nine in total, have been associated with this legendary dish. Some accounts suggest that the restaurant sourced its beef locally, allowing the chef to handpick the best cuts available each day. While many believe that the top sirloin takes the crown, a visit to an expert butcher requesting a Delmonico steak would likely result in them recommending a succulent ribeye. Connoisseurs argue that the ribeye’s exceptional flavor and tenderness make it the pinnacle of steak perfection. Regardless of the exact cut attributed to the Delmonico steak, one thing is certain: it would have been a substantial and flavorsome piece of beef, even by nineteenth-century standards.

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Unraveling the Delmonico Steak’s Lore

Legend has it that for years, the Delmonico steak held the coveted position of item 86 on the menu. And it was supposedly at Delmonico’s that the phrase “86’d” was coined. Fabled to have been invented by the chef, this term was used to alert the staff when they ran out of steaks for the day, adding a touch of culinary lore to the restaurant’s history. Unfortunately, the original Delmonico’s closed its doors in 1923. Prohibition dealt a severe blow to the esteemed establishment, as patrons unwilling to endure a lengthy formal dinner without the accompaniment of alcohol gradually dwindled. Eventually, even the final bastion of Delmonico’s found itself unable to persuade diners that bottled mineral water sufficed as a worthy companion to the superb steak. While any present-day restaurant or hotel purporting to be “Delmonico’s” is merely an imitation, this doesn’t mean that they don’t serve a delicious steak!

The Recipe Reimagined

Cremini Mushrooms

Let’s delve into the heart of the matter—the Delmonico steak recipe itself. This culinary masterpiece relies on simple yet exceptional ingredients that result in a steak renowned for its taste and tenderness. Picture a well-seasoned ribeye steak, grilled to perfection, and then crowned with a scrumptious mushroom, tomato, and rosemary sauce. This sauce elevates the steak, adding a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving more.

Essential Ingredients for the Delmonico Steak Recipe

  • Steaks: Choose four ribeye steaks, each weighing around 6-7 ounces. If budget constraints arise, you can opt for more economical cuts like chuck or chuck-eye steaks without sacrificing taste.
  • Broth: While store-bought broth is a convenient option, consider using homemade beef bone broth for an extra depth of flavor.
  • Mushrooms: The recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but you can also use white button mushrooms or chopped portabella mushrooms. Thread the mushrooms onto rosemary sprigs, not only infusing them with flavor but also creating an elegant presentation. Alternatively, wooden or metal skewers can be substituted. If using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in tepid water for 30 minutes prior to use.
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Your Shopping List for Delmonico Steak

  • 4 rib-eye steaks (12-14 ounces each)
  • Cremini mushrooms (cleaned)
  • Rosemary sprigs (approximately 4 inches long for garnish)
  • 4 wooden skewers
  • Olive oil
  • For the sauce:
    • 1 cup beef stock
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup minced shallots
    • 1/4 cup diced carrots
    • 1/4 cup diced celery
    • 4 sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
    • 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
    • salt and pepper to taste

Delmonico Steak Recipe

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, carrots, and celery over medium heat until they caramelize or acquire a slightly browned hue.
  2. While stirring, slowly pour in balsamic vinegar, reducing the mixture by half. Add the beef broth and bring the sauce to a quick boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, allowing the sauce to simmer until it thickens to a consistency that coats the back of a spoon. The vegetables should be tender.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat, let it cool for 10 minutes, then puree it in a blender. Pour the sauce back into the pot, cover it, and reheat shortly before serving.

Grilling and Assembling the Delmonico Steak

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (approximately 400 degrees F). Season the steaks with salt and black pepper, then cook them to your desired level of doneness. For optimum enjoyment, we recommend a medium-rare to medium doneness, which corresponds to an internal temperature of 135-145 degrees F.
  2. Clean the mushrooms using a damp cloth to remove any surface debris. Thread four mushrooms onto each skewer, starting from the stem and proceeding through the top. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the mushroom skewers on the grill and cook them for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip them and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms turn tender and irresistible.
  4. Once the steaks are cooked to perfection, remove them from the grill and allow them to rest. Meanwhile, slide the mushrooms off the skewers and slice them into smaller, delectable pieces.
  5. Top each steak with a generous dollop of warmed sauce, sliced mushrooms, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
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And there you have it—the reimagined Delmonico steak, crafted with love and flair. Enjoy the succulent steak, savor the harmonious blend of flavors, and relish the satisfaction that comes from indulging in a truly exceptional dish. Remember, this recipe breathes new life into a timeless classic, allowing you to embark on a gastronomic adventure that pays homage to the past while embracing the present.

Looking for a different steak recipe? Why not try our guide on How to Cook a Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet?

So, prepare your taste buds and fire up the grill—it’s time to rediscover the magic of the Delmonico steak!


For more mouthwatering recipes and culinary inspiration, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.