The Bright Flavor Pairs Perfectly with a Rich Steak.
It’s been quite awhile since my son purchased dried hibiscus petals * for use in an ice cream recipe he was working on. We’d been so impressed with their flavor, not to mention the brilliant color, but it was one of those deals where I’d think about them from time to time and then they’d completely leave my mind. So many ingredients, so little time.
Well, they came to the forefront of my mind the other day and I started thinking about using them in a savory context. Their flavor is so bright and sweet, but has a distinct earthiness I thought could work in sauce for a grilled steak. So, I began the night before by bringing a simple syrup of equal parts water and sugar to a simmer and then steeping the hibiscus petals in it overnight.
We were grilling ribeyes, which I decided to rub with black garlic salt and pepper. So, I took it from there. After sautéing minced shallots in butter, I added some of the hibiscus syrup, beef stock, both red wine vinegar and Banyuls vinegar *, a little chipotle morita chile *, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. I let this cook down quite a bit – almost 3/4.
It was now nice and syrupy, but the mouthfeel needed some help. Butter to the rescue. I whisked in a couple tablespoons of cold salted butter, only long enough for it to emulsify into the sauce and then added a teaspoon of lemon juice. After adding a little additional salt and pepper it was good to go.
Well, the folks around here declared it superb. It’s tart, sweet, a little spicy, earthy, and deeply flavored. It complimented the rich ribeye perfectly. As you can see, I also served roasted crispy potatoes. I used Kenji Lopez-Alt’s basic recipe which you can get here . I’ve been making these potatoes for years and I change out the seasonings, depending on what I’m serving. In this case I kept them simple and only used duck fat, salt, pepper, and parsley. They pair so well with steak.
You will have some leftover syrup in this recipe and you can easily do what I did. I put some ice in a glass, added a couple tablespoons of the syrup and added soda water. So delicious and refreshing. You could also add a little cream and have a lovely French soda.
I used up all the hibiscus petals for this recipe and I just purchased another bag because this sauce was such a hit I know I’ll be making it again and again. I’m also thinking about a few other ways to use them, besides the obvious, which is making tea. We’re also trying to remember exactly how my son made that ice cream recipe. We recall it was great, but didn’t write it down. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.