Oscar style steak is a way to elevate a steak dish using a crab béarnaise sauce and blanched asparagus. This Oscar style steak recipe uses New York strip steak, but you can use Oscar style sauce for other dishes like ribeye or filet mignon.
Traditionally, the Oscar style was used with veal. We will get into more of the history later, but, right now, let’s focus on how to make this unbelievably delicious Oscar style New York strip steak!
What Is Oscar Style?
Oscar style is a way of cooking dishes like steak by topping it with an emulsified butter sauce (generally béarnaise sauce) and crab or lobster meat. Oscar style typically also includes trimmed asparagus spears.
Oscar style can be used with filet mignon beef tenderloin, New York strip steak or ribeye. It was traditionally used to make a veal dish for King Oscar Fredrik II, a Swedish and Norwegian king who reigned in the 19th century. (See below for more history on Oscar style.)
Looking for a side dish to serve with Steak Oscar? Try Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes.
Ingredients for Oscar Style Steak
The ingredients for this Oscar style steak are simple and straightforward, but the way you prepare them and the quality of the ingredients are key. Let’s talk about the ingredients in a little more detail.
Gathering your ingredients for an Oscar style steak may be a little more complicated than a simple recipe. That’s because you’re going to want to find excellent crab meat and high quality steak. (If you have a local butcher, this is the time to pay this shop a visit instead of using grocery store steak.)
You’ll also want fresh asparagus and eggs, as well as parsley or tarragon herbs. Oscar style sauce also requires white wine, shallots, and white peppercorns. Of course, you’ll need a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning.
Oscar Style Sauce
Oscar style sauce is essentially and emulsified butter sauce with lemon or white wine, and is generally béarnaise sauce. This New York strip steak recipe uses béarnaise sauce, which includes flavors of freshly chopped tarragon, shallots, salt, and white peppercorns. Then you add 1 tablespoon of a tarragon vinegar reduction to a hollandaise base.
To make this recipe faster, you could buy premade hollandaise sauce, which is one of the 5 French “mother sauces,” and then add tarragon and shallots. But making béarnaise sauce is not too difficult, it just requires your full attention.
The trick is to tend the sauce carefully so that you get the right consistency and it does not break. You’ll need a double boiler or you can use one small sauce pan and a metal or glass bowl to make your own double boiler. Here’s how to make the sauce.
How to Make Béarnaise Sauce for Oscar Steak
First, get all your ingredients together to have them on hand so you can make the sauce smoothly. If you’re fumbling around for ingredients, you could lose time perfecting the sauce.
Melt the butter in one sauce pan over medium-low heat.
In another pan, make a tarragon vinegar reduction using the white wine, white wine vinegar, shallots, and tarragon, and white peppercorns. This is your acidic element. (In hollandaise sauce you would instead use lemon juice.)
Boil that mixture to reduce it until it is about 1 1/2 tablespoon to intensify the flavors. (You’ll only be using 1 tablespoon.) Then strain the reduction to remove the shallots and peppercorns.
Simmer some water in the bottom of a double boiler.
In the top pan, off the boiler, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the warm white wine vinegar reduction and continue whisking briskly. You want to avoid scrambling the eggs, so add the reduction a very small bit at a time as you whisk.
Then, add the top boiler to the pan with the simmering water. There should be enough hot water in the lower pan to heat the upper pan without touching it. Continue whisking briskly until the sauce thickens. And as soon as it thickens, remove it from the heat. (If at any time, you notice the eggs start to break, or scramble, remove it from the heat immediately and add a bit of cool water.)
Remove the top pan from the heat again. As you continue whisking slowly drizzle the melted butter into your sauce, and add a pinch of salt and Old Bay.
Pro tip: It’s best to make béarnaise sauce right when you need to use it instead of making it in advance.
If you need to make béarnaise sauce in advance, you could keep it in the refrigerator for one or two days and then reheat it on the double boiler. But it will not taste as fresh.
Asparagus for Oscar Steak
Traditionally, an Oscar style dish was served with white asparagus. But today it’s more commonly served with the green asparagus, which is much easier to find.
If you have white asparagus in your stores, this may be another good choice for this luxury dish. But no matter which type of asparagus you use, trim the spears by snapping them at their weak point.
Then blanche your asparagus for the perfect texture to go with New York strip and the béarnaise sauce.
To blanche asparagus:
- Make an ice bath with ice and water in a bowl.
- Boil water in a large pot or sauce pan.
- Drop the asparagus spears into the boiling water for just 30 seconds.
- Using tongs, transfer the spears to the ice water, which will stop the cooking process.
Pro tip: Blanching helps asparagus spears maintain a vibrant color because it seals in the chlorophyll.
Set the asparagus aside, gently warming it up on the side of the grill off the high heat or in a pan on low heat, as you prepare your crab and steak.
Crab for Oscar Style Steak
The best crab meat for an Oscar style steak is the freshest crab meat or lobster meat you can get. Oscar style crab can be really any type of crab, but ideally you would use larger white chunks of crab. You can also use lobster meat for this steak Oscar recipe.
So, you could make Alaskan king crab Oscar style, lump crab meat Oscar style, or, as we did here with this recipe, Dungeness crab Oscar style.
If you’re not catching crab yourself, just visit your local seafood shop for the freshest selection. Some grocery stores do carry fresh local crab meat, depending on where you live.
The crabs for the recipe in these pictures are Dungeness crabs caught off the coast of Washington State. But you could use the blue crab common on the U.S. East Coast or lobster meat as well.
Cooking Crabs for Oscar Style New York Strip
To cook crabs, steam them by putting them in a large pot with about 1 to 2 inches of water and a steam basket. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to boiling. When the crabs’ shells turn bright red, they are done. This usually takes 15 – 20 minutes. (Of course, if you have a crab steamer, you could use that instead of the large pot.)
Once they are steamed, remove them using large tongs, and place them aside for a few minutes to cool. You’ll then have to pick the crab meat, and the exact way you do that will depend on what type of crab it is. Usually you start by removing the legs and bottom plate and pick the crab meat out from the crevices with your fingers or a butter knife.
Lay the fresh crab meat aside and turn to cooking your steak.
Cooking New York Strip for Oscar Style
Cooking a steak to make Oscar style is very straightforward. Simply make your steak as you typically do to the temperature that you like it. The steak in the pictures here has been cooked to medium rare on a grill.
First, allow your steak to come to room temperature and season it with salt and pepper. (Some people season the steak with salt the day before, pepper right before cooking, and then salt again after cooking.)
You can sear the steak in a cast iron skillet on high heat to lock in the juices before you grill it over medium heat.
For a medium rare steak, cook it to an internal temperature of 120°, about 3 – 4 minutes per side, remove it from the heat and allow it to continue cooking to 130° off the heat as it rests.
Cooking the steak should be the last step in making Oscar style steak. Once it is cooked to temperature, you simply top it with trimmed asparagus spears, crab meat, and then the béarnaise sauce. Garnish with a sprinkling of Old Bay and chopped fresh finely chopped tarragon, parsley or chives.
Oscar Style Steak Topping
Oscar style steak topping is essentially, asparagus spears topped with lump crab meat, and béarnaise sauce. Garnish with a sprinkling of Old Bay and a bit of finely chopped herb like tarragon, parsley, or chives.
Oscar style sauce typically includes egg yolks and an acidic element like reduced tarragon white wine vinegar along with lots of butter. With béarnaise sauce, substitute lemon juice in a traditional hollandaise sauce recipe with a white wine reduction with tarragon. White pepper is also a common ingredient in Oscar style sauce.
Oscar Style Steak
- 2 sauce pans
- 1 double boiler
- wire mesh sieve
- 1 large pot and steam basket (if steaming crabs)
- ½ lb butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (or parsley)
- 4 white peppercorns
- 3 large egg yolks
- pinch salt
- pinch Old Bay
- 2 New York Strip Steaks (12 – 16 oz)
- 1 cup crab meat
- 12 spears asparagus, trimmed
- Heat butter in a sauce pan until melted.
- Simmer water in the bottom portion of a double boiler.
- In another sauce pan, make the white wine reduction. Add shallots, dry white wine, white wine vinegar, tarragon, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and reduce until the mixture is about 1½ tablespoons. Strain the reduction with a wire mesh sieve to remove the shallots, tarragon, and peppercorns.
- In the top portion of a double boiler, whisk eggs and slowly add 1 tablespoon of the white wine reduction. Continue to whisk as place the top boiler pan on the simmering water. Keep whisking just until the sauce thickens and then remove it from the heat.
- Off the heat, continue whisking as you slowly add the melted butter, salt and Old Bay.
- Trim asparagus spears by snapping at their weak point. Prepare an ice bath of ice and water.
- Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan and add the spears for 30 seconds. Place them in the ice bath to cool and seal in the vibrant color. Warm the spears on a grill or in a skillet as you prepare the crab and steak.
Crab (Optional: If you are using fresh crabs)
- In a large pot, add 1 – 2 inches of water and a steam basket. Place crabs on the steam basket and put a lid on the pot. Bring water to a boil and steam the crabs for 15 – 20 minutes until their shells turn bright red.
- Pick the crab meat, rinse, and set aside. 4 Dungeness crabs should yield about 1½ cup crab meat.
Steak Oscar Style
- Bring steak to room temperature and generously season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until the internal temperature reaches 120°. Allow the steak to rest and continue cooking until the internal temperature is 130°.
- Plate the steaks. Top with 4 – 6 asparagus spears, ½ cup crab meat, and about 3 tablespoons of bearnaise sauce. Garnish with finely chopped tarragon, parsley or chives.
- Serve warm immediately.
What Does Oscar Style Mean on a Steak?
Oscar style with a steak dish like you might see on the menu at Ruth’s Chris simply means that the steak is topped with asparagus, a béarnaise or hollandaise sauce, and crab meat. It’s a way to make a steak dish even more luxurious.
Why Is it Called Oscar Style?
Oscar style steak or Oscar style dishes are called “Oscar style” because they are named after King Oscar Fredrik of Sweden and Norway, who reigned in the 19th century. He had a hankering for luxury dishes that included his favorite ingredients featured in the original dish: veal, crab, white asparagus, and an emulsified butter sauce.
So, the origin of the Steak Oscar dates back to this time period. But steak Oscar history has come along way!
Today’s “Oscar style” dishes are usually with steak topped with lump crab along with the béarnaise sauce and tarragon herbs. Green asparagus is more commonly used these days than white asparagus, which is grown without light which makes it more tender.
What to Serve with Steak Oscar
You can serve steak Oscar with roasted vegetables or a small green salad. Other good side dishes for steak Oscar recipes may include a potato side cooked in any number of styles, such as a twice baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or duchess potatoes.
Try Bacon & Bevs Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes recipe.