Brazilian-style steak and egg is one of those meals that instantly takes me back to my childhood. Amazingly, even though steak and eggs is frequently served here in the US as a breakfast dish, the Brazilian version (which is eaten for lunch or dinner) tastes completely different to me. Sure, some of that difference comes from the seasoning and preparation. But some of it comes from the nostalgia of childhood memories.
Bife à cavalo, which is what this dish is called in Brazil, translates to “steak prepared horseback-riding style”. The name comes from the placement of the egg over the steak. It is reminiscent of a saddle on the back of a horse. Some say this preparation originated in France, going by the name bifteck à cheval. A bit of online research revealed that this dish is eaten in Portugal, and throughout much of South America, all with basically the same name.
However it got its name, this egg-topped steak is simple and easy to prepare and SO SO delicious! I hadn’t had it in quite a while, for some reason. Then, planning some recipes for future posts and trying to think of a beef recipe, this came to mind. I couldn’t wait to make it and share it with you. I do so love this meal!
Let’s make this Brazilian-style steak and egg
Brazilian beef cuts are different than US beef cuts. Bife à cavalo is often prepared from alcatra, patinho, or fraldinha. All these basically come from the area where we get the top and bottom sirloins in the US. So, I chose top sirloin.
You’ll want a relatively thin cut. You can buy thin cut top sirloin, or, as I did, buy a 1-inch steak and slice it horizontally with a very sharp knife to make two 1/2-inch steaks.
You’ll want the meat and eggs to be at room temperature.
Garlic here is key. And pressed garlic, not chopped or minced.
And finally, to achieve the authentic flavor of the bife à cavalo of my childhood, both the egg and the steak are fried in olive oil. There are a lot of variations when it comes to the oil. Many recipes call for soybean oil, which is a common oil for frying in the Brazil. I remember my mom using both, though I guess if I think back, she probably used soybean oil more often. My preference is with the olive oil.
I made today’s recipe for two, but once you see how it is prepared, you’ll see how easily it can be expanded to serve more.
Start by seasoning the meat with the pressed garlic, salt and cracked pepper.
I press the garlic directly on the meat, half on each steak. Then I use my fingers to rub it onto both sides of the steaks. After that, I salt and pepper both sides.
Heat a nice amount of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Slow fry the eggs in the heated oil. The eggs will be cooking while you pan-sear the steaks.
Towards the end of cooking, flick some of the hot oil over the egg to cook the yolk to a desired doneness. Recipes are all over the board on this. Some break the yolk and serve the egg over-hard. Others serve it over-easy. And still others serve it sunny side up.
Heat a second skillet to medium-high heat. Then add just one teaspoon of olive oil and spread it on the bottom of the pan.
Pan sear the steaks so that they are well caramelized on both sides. Then transfer the steaks to pre-warmed plates. This is the time when you go back to the egg and flick the oil over the yolk.
Remove the egg from the oil, and allow it to drain slightly. Then place the egg on top of the prepared steak.
This steak is often served with white rice, French fires, and a small salad. I know, two carbs. But that’s how we do it in Brazil.
Isn’t this a gorgeous plate? I can tell you that it was incredibly delicious. The caramelized pressed garlic, along with the beefiness of the caramelized steak scream childhood comfort food to me. My mouth starts watering just thinking about it.
I called Sam, who was off work, to tell him what I was cooking for this post. He told me he was coming right over for lunch.
This is his plate. He likes his yolk a little firmer. I like mine nice and runny.
I made myself bife à cavalo for dinner too. It was THAT good.
Yeah, I’m going to prepare Brazilian-style steak and egg much more frequently going forward.
Brazilian Steak and Egg (Bife à Cavalo)
- 2 half-inch top sirloin steaks 1/2 pound each
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic
- Allow the steaks and eggs to come to room temperature before cooking.
- Set two plates to keep warm.
- Press the garlic onto the steaks.
- Use your fingers to spread the pressed garlic, distribute to both sides of the steaks.
- Salt and pepper the steaks on both sides.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over low heat.
- Then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place the eggs in the heated oil, top with salt and pepper, and allow the eggs to fry slowly.
- Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the hot large skillet, spread the oil over the bottom of the pan.
- Sear the steaks until well caramelized on both sides.
- Transfer to the warm plates.
- Return to the eggs and flick some of the hot oil over the yolks to cook to desired doneness.
- Remove the eggs from the pan, lightly shake off any excess oil, and place the eggs on top of the steaks.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.