Recipe: Blue Cheese Encrusted Steak

First: The steak

You can make a delicious blue cheese encrusted steak with just about any cut of steak, but our favorites are strip steaks (New York strips, pictured), ribeyes, and filet mignon.

For a more mildly flavored cut, like filet mignon, the blue cheese and balsamic caramelized shallots add to the overall flavor of the steak significantly. With something like a strip steak or ribeye that has a bigger, beefier flavor, the crust stands up to the cut and complements it nicely.

Just like the cut of steak, the cooking method is customizable to your preferences. A blue cheese crust can be added to pan-seared steak, grilled, broiled, and even sous vide steak. 

When you’ve almost finished cooking the steak, pack the blue cheese crust onto the top and pop it in the oven for a few minutes. (Or, if you’re grilling, place it on the indirect heat side of the grill with the lid closed.) The trick to making sure that your meat doesn’t overcook when you crisp the blue-cheese crust is to cook the steak one level of doneness less than you want to serve it and then add the blue-cheese crust.

So, if you want to serve medium-rare steaks, cook them to the pre-resting temperature for rare and then proceed with the crust. For medium, cook first to medium-rare, etc.

In this example featured on recipe blog Striped Spatula, the prime-grade, 1.5-inch-thick New York strip steaks were cooked to an internal temperature of 120 degrees F sous vide, then given a quick sear on the stove (20 seconds per side). Then the blue-cheese crust was added, and the steaks were baked in a 500-degree oven for 4 minutes.  This produced rosy, medium-rare meat, with nice rendering of the fat marbleization. 

MAKING THE BLUE CHEESE CRUST

The topping for blue cheese encrusted steak couldn’t be simpler to make. Using Panko breadcrumbs will help bind the ingredients and give the crust some texture.

This recipe calls for adding balsamic-glazed caramelized shallots to the mixture for a nice balance of flavors between salty, tangy, and sweet. To make a more classic crust, you can omit the shallots entirely.

For cleaner slicing after you’ve baked or broiled the crust, it’s important to press down a bit and pack it onto the top of each steak instead of merely sprinkling. That said, do expect that some of the crust will still fall off of the steak and onto your plate when you cut it.

In terms of texture, the top of the crust gets a nice crispiness to it as the Panko toasts. The interior stays soft, with a bit of creaminess from the melted blue cheese. 

WHAT KIND OF BLUE CHEESE SHOULD I USE?

We have several incredible blue cheeses on hand at our store in Eureka Springs: Cashel Blue, the revolutionary five-creme Carr Valley Penta Creme Blue, and Bayley Hazen Blue.

The pungency of blue cheese can vary pretty widely by brand, and even between wedge within the same brand. Taste it before adding it to your crust. If your blue cheese is especially assertive in flavor, consider dialing back the quantity to 1/2 cup instead of 3/4.

SERVING BLUE CHEESE ENCRUSTED STEAK

For the best results, serve the steaks within a few minutes of crisping the crust. The longer the crust sits and has time to mingle with the steak juices, the softer it will become.

The Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 New York Strip Steaks , about 12 ounces each and 1-1/2 inches thick (or your favorite steak cut)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2-3 shallots , sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds (about 1 cup shallots)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil , plus 1-2 tablespoons, divided
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Instructions

30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature.

Make the Blue Cheese Crust: Melt butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add sliced shallots with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until shallots are soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes longer.

Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Cook, stirring, until vinegar is evaporated, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, mix together Panko, blue cheese, parsley, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon oil, and caramelized shallots. Leave some chunks of blue cheese in the mixture.

Make the Steaks: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch, oven-safe skillet over high heat, just until wisps of smoke start to rise from the edges of the pan. Sear the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side, until the centers register 120 degrees F (for steaks to be served medium-rare).

Top each steak with half of the blue cheese mixture, pressing to pack it a bit for cleaner slicing. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 4-5 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the topping is golden, and the steaks have an internal temperature of 128-130 degrees F. Remove from oven, let steaks rest 5 minutes on a cutting board, and serve.

Notes

Cooking Methods: Cooking times will vary depending on the cut and thickness of the steaks, as well as your desired “doneness.” You can also grill, broil, or sous vide the steaks.

Whatever cooking method you choose, add the blue cheese crust and transfer to the oven when the steaks are one degree of doneness less than you want to serve them. They will finish cooking in the oven with the crust.

If you cooked the steaks closer to its final cooking temperature before adding the crust, don’t worry! Instead of baking in the 500-degree oven, pop the crusted steaks under the broiler for 2 minutes to quickly brown the top and melt the cheese. Watch the steaks carefully – they can burn quickly!

Yield: This recipe makes enough blue cheese crust for two large strip steaks. If you’re using a steak with a smaller surface area, like filet mignon, you’ll have enough for 4 steaks.

Nutrition Estimates
Calories: 746 KCAL | Carbohydrates: 14G | Protein: 56G | Fat: 51G | Saturated Fat: 26G | Cholesterol: 184MG | Sodium: 790MG | Potassium: 817MG | Fiber: 1G | Sugar: 4G | Vitamin A: 795IU | Vitamin C: 7.8MG | Calcium: 276MG | Iron: 5.3MG