Gribiche is a classic French sauce, but that doesn't mean anyone can agree on how it's properly made. It always seems to have egg in some form, that's a given—as well as plenty of herbs, oil, vinegar, and some piquant mix-ins like capers or cornichons. Some say it's a relative of tartar sauce (or the fancier French version called remoulade) in that it's basically a mayonnaise with a nice acidity and mix-ins, but others say the thing that sets it apart is that the egg is hard-boiled. Since the raw egg yolk is what emulsifies a mayonnaise, the hard-boiled version is a little less uniform, and the bits of egg white give it an appealing texture.
I like the way the Zuni Cafe Cookbook (from which this recipe is adapted) handles things: by splitting the difference with a soft-boiled egg. After just 4 minutes, the egg's white is congealed but the yolk is still relatively raw; this means you still get the texture from the hardened egg whites, but the yolk is still runny enough to give it a good emulsion. From there it's pretty versatile--it would make a marvelous base for a potato salad, or spooned onto pretty much anything off the grill, especially asparagus. Admittedly, it's pretty decadent on a steak, and I devoured this at 11 p.m. But my wife is out of town and that means I eat whatever I couldn't normally get away with.
- 2 pound steak, such as skirt or flank
- 1 egg
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
- 1 1/2 cups mild olive oil, or a mix of neutral and olive oils
- 3 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs, such as parsley, chives, tarragon, dill, etc.
- 2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped
Bring a small pot of water to a simmer and carefully lower in the egg. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove and cool completely under a cold faucet, or in a bowl of ice water. Carefully remove the shell and place the egg in a bowl with the mustard, vinegar, shallots, and a good pinch of salt. Mash lightly to combine, then drizzle in the oil very slowly, whisking vigorously, to create an emulsion. You can add the oil a little more quickly once a good emulsion has been formed, whisky all the while. Add the herbs and capers and season to taste with salt and vinegar.
Rub the steaks with salt, pepper, and a little oil. Grill to desired doneness on a grill or grill pan. Remove from the heat and allow to rest at least five minutes, then slice and arrange on a platter. Spoon the sauce over the steaks, or serve it separately.