I’m no huge lover of red meat, but I’ve got to admit that the recipe and video for araignées in Le Monde this weekend made my mouth water. The araignée (air-ran yeah), or spider steak, is a cut of beef that’s much more common in France than in the US, but even there you’ll need to go to a real butcher who works on whole carcasses. The araignée or gobet is the muscle that forms a hump at the top of the backbone. There’s only about 10 or 12 ounces of this cut in an entire cow. Here, it’s thrown on the heap of meat that becomes hamburger; there, it’s turned into a gastronomic delight.
Here’s a translation of the recipe from Le Monde.
Ask your butcher for spider steak. Count on 5 ounces per person, 7 ounces for bigger appetites. Take the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking it so that it’s at room temperature. Heat a drop of oil in a pan and sear the meat on all sides until it’s well browned. You may lightly salt the meat at this moment (not before, or the juices of the meat will escape during cooking). Remove the steaks from the pan, and add a knob of butter to the pan. When the butter is foaming, return the meat to the pan and turn it frequently to “nourish” it for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the meat rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish the meat with a knob of salted butter and enjoy it accompanied by a salad of rocket or mâche (tender salad greens).
My only question is, is it incredibly yummy because of the cut of beef or all that butter? The butcher who shared the recipe in Le Monde, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, did acknowledge that he doesn’t eat it as often these days due to high cholesterol.