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CrabFest 2021


Steak Marsala from Cook's Illustrated*

Serves 4-6

Why this recipe works You may be used to buttery, sweet, and savory Marsala sauce partnered with chicken cutlets. What about with steak? Steak Marsala, we found, was doubly grand, pairing full-flavored beef and mushrooms with a perfectly complementary rich wine sauce. To amplify the savoriness of the cremini mushrooms, we added rehydrated dried porcini mushrooms, which contributed a deep complexity. A healthy dose of sweet Marsala provided the perfect amount of deep smokiness to the sauce, and butter, lemon, and parsley rounded out the flavors.


  • 1 cup chicken broth, divided
  • ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
  • ½ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless top sirloin steaks, trimmed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet Marsala wine, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Microwave ½ cup broth and porcini mushrooms in covered bowl until steaming, about 1 minute. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain porcini mushrooms in fine-mesh strainer lined with coffee filter, reserve liquid, and chop porcini mushrooms fine.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cremini mushrooms, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, covered until mushrooms release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are well browned, about 8 minutes longer. Transfer to bowl, cover to keep warm.

3. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until just smoking. Add steaks and cook until well browned on first side, about 4 minutes. Flip steaks and cook until well-browned on second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 to 135 (for medium), 4-6 minutes. Transfer steaks to carving board and tent with aluminum foil.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shallot, flour, garlic, rosemary, porcini mushrooms, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until shallot is beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in ¾ cup Marsala, reserved porcini mushroom soaking liquid, and remaining ½ cup broth. Cook until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time, until emulsified. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, cremini mushrooms, and remaining 1 tablespoon Marsala. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice steaks thin against grain and transfer to warm platter. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.

*From Cook's Illustrated MEAT illustrated, 350+ recipes for beef, pork, lamb, and veal

Our notes

Naturally, we can't leave a recipe alone.

  • We used grass-fed beef.
  • We used shitake mushrooms instead of cremini.
  • We used almond flour.
  • We used organic ingredients as much as possible.

June 2021

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