January is all about trying new things at Mercato! This week, we’re excited to bring you our latest Mercato Must-Have. This must-have is something you may have stumbled across on the menu of a fine restaurant or as an ingredient in a gourmet cookbook. Drum roll please…it’s Wagyu Beef! What is it? And, why is it so amazing? Read on to learn more!
Wagyu is a breed of Japanese cattle that is known for it’s marbled meat and rich, melt-in-your mouth flavor. In Japanese, Wagyu literally translates to “Japanese Cow;” where ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow. The unique taste and tenderness of the Wagyu Beef is regarded to some as the best beef in the world, and has become a delicacy found alongside caviar and truffles!
For some time, the importation of Wagyu Beef was not permitted from Japan. For this reason, in the United States, Wagyu Beef is commonly crossbred with other breeds of cattle. Lucky for you, we’ve partnered with Japan Premium Beef in Manhattan. JPB opened back in 2009 and offers traditional Wagyu Beef varieties, but also beef produced from their own cattle farm; in which Wagyu is cross breed with Black Angus. The more Wagyu genetics in the beef, the more marbled (tender) the meat will appear (and taste). Talk about delicious!
Wagyu only needs to be cooked for a short period of time to retain the flavor, juices, and texture of the beef. This type of beef is great for dishes like steak tartare, where the steak is served raw in the center. It’s also become a popular starter at restaurants, where guests are encouraged to quickly sear the meat on a hot stone!
Like most steak, the simpler the preparation, the better. Here’s the best way to enjoy your Wagyu Beef:
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Rub both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
- Put a small amount of oil in a cast iron skillet and heat over high flame.
- Preheat skillet until pan starts to smoke.
- Gently place steak on the pan. Allow steak to cook for about 3 minutes per side.
- Place pan in the oven for an additional couple of minutes.
- Remove from oven, and serve immediately.