Monday, September 21, 2009

Steak thru the heart...

I do not own a grill, which is really foolish in California, the one place where you can cook out all year long and have access to really fresh food. But, I am slow to buy anything for cooking. I have to prove to myself that I will actually take the time to use it. Anyway, I was whining to several colleagues about how I wanted to be able to make a great steak at home, when some crazy suggestions were thrown my way.

Now I am no fabulous cook, but even I know that a boiled steak is not on its way to greatness!

I had almost forgotten the suggestions, and the longing for a steak when I received the following email from a colleague that overheard the conversation and is a renowned foody.
Humorous and Yummy Email from D.F:
"I was totally going to mind my own business, but then someone said something about steaming a steak in an oven and I just couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. I was completely apoplectic . . . on the inside. I mean, dude was straight talking crazy. J

So anyways, per the brief conversation that I inserted myself into . . .

"One Way I Cook Steak by David F."

1. The most important thing to do is to get your steak out of the fridge for about an hour before you’re going to cook it. Room temperature meat will cook properly and allow you to avoid the black on the outside, raw on the inside pitfall.

2. Ideally, you will have been able to season the steak with some kosher salt a day or two before. If you do this, put the steak on a wire rack on top of a plate. Then dome some wax paper over the steak so weird bits don’t fall on it. This is definitely NOT a necessary step and it’s one that I rarely ever do. Chickens are a whole other story.

3. Turn your oven on to 350 F.

4. Put a DRY cast iron skillet over medium high heat if the steak is very thick (1.5 inches or greater) and over a bit higher heat of thinner. Wait at least 5 minutes to allow the skillet to really gather heat.

5. Apply any other seasonings you want on the steak (for me, that’s nothing. I add some black pepper near the very end).

6. Plop the steak onto the very hot skillet. And wait. And wait. And wait. Every once in awhile, grab the steak with tongs and see if the pan is naturally releasing the steak. If it isn’t, then it’s not ready to turn. Once the meat releases, check to see if the bottom is crusted like you want it. You want it as brown as can be but you really want to avoid any char.

7. Once the steak is crusted well on one side, flip it over and put the whole pan in the oven.

8. At this point, it’s all about the thickness of the steak and the doneness that you’re after. If you have a thermometer, then that would be a great guide.

9. If you’re feeling decadent, a couple of minutes before you think the steak will be done, pull the skillet out, place it over low heat on the range, add a few knobs of butter and baste the steak in the butter. Make sure the butter never gets too brown or you’ll just taste carbon.

10. Last, you absolutely need to let the steak rest. A good rule of thumb is to let a steak rest for about half the time you spent cooking it. I’m usually very impatient and just wait about 10-12 minutes. The steak will continue to cook as it rests so you may want to pull the steak out of the oven when it’s rare if you want medium rare. I put a plate on the stovetop as I’m cooking so it’s warm and I let the steak rest on that so it doesn’t cool off as it rests.

And that’s how I do it. It’s a technique called pan roasting. Let me know if you try it.


1 comment:

  1. How did I not see this post? I'm not much of a steak eater, but now I want to go out and buy myself a castiron pan (though I might go for a grill pan so I can get nice grill marks going). So ... have you tried it yet?


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