Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where's the beef?...On my plate!

As the resident carnivore on this blog, I was rather horrified when I realized that there was yet to be a beef post. This incredibly gross, negligent oversight on my part was happily rectified tonight. Beef does the body good. Okay, maybe that’s hyperbole, but it does fit well into a balanced diet.

When I buy my red meat I go to the butcher’s case, not the supermarket. Do not buy meat in a package. I like to hold the cut of meat in my hand, caress it, look at the marbling, smell it, talk to it…that last bit really gets me noticed at the butcher shop. We’ve all purchased a steak that looked good in a package, only to get home, open said package and immediately know that we just got a trunky in the tradesman’s entrance. If you didn’t understand that last part…ask a Brit!

Pay close attention to how the raw meat looks. It should be bright red, not brown or black. Black?! You’d be surprised. The meat should be free of any repulsive odor. I always buy organic hormone-free beef. Grass fed or Grain fed? That’s for a future post.

There are three things you must have before even thinking of cooking a steak. First you must have a good, heavy pan. Second you must have a RACK, a wire rack you can put over a plate so your cooked steak can rest. Lastly, you must have FLEUR DE SEL. Fleur de Sel is a French sea salt that is hand-harvested. Fleur de Sel dissolves faster than regular salt, making it perfect to sprinkle on meat during the resting process.

Tonight I purchased a Hereford Beef strip steak. The strip steak or NY strip comes from the short loin, a section of meat located along the back, behind the ribs. It’s an area of the cattle that does not get much exercise, making it a tender cut. Tender cuts of meat require rapid cooking at temperatures. The goal is to create a flavorful brown crust on the exterior, while the inside is pink and juicy. Overcooked meat is tough as old boots, not particularly appetizing.

The following recipe is for an 8oz strip steak. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Remove the steak from the refrigerator 10 minutes before cooking. Season the steak with sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, and cane sugar. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of butter. When the butter begins to foam, gently lay the steak on the pan. You better hear a sizzle, if you don't, get it off the's not hot enough!  Cook for 2 minutes. Turn the steak with a spatula; do not puncture with a fork. While cooking for 2 minutes on the second side...slightly tilt the pan and use a spoon to baste the steak with the oil-butter mixture. Transfer the pan to the oven, cook for about 8 minutes. Doneness on a steak can only be judged by feel. Touch the steak, if it feels like your CHEEK…RARE, if it feels like your CHIN…MEDIUM, and if it feels like your FOREHEAD...Throw it out, it’s well done.

Take the pan out of the oven, and with the spatula lay the steak on the RACK to rest. When meat cooks the juices are drawn to the center. Resting allows the meat to open-up and redistribute those juices. Resting time should be exactly half the cooking time. While the meat is on the rack, season both sides with the Fleur de Sel. I made no sauce for the steak tonight, but if I had, I would add any of the juices on the plate under the rack to the sauce.

The purple element on this dish is shallots. I diced two shallots and put them in a glass bowl. To the bowl I added ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup Meyer lemon juice, and sea salt.  Mix well.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. It’s almost like a shallot ceviche. Why it turns purple…I don’t know…there is some chemistry going on there, but I could not explain it. The end result is appealing to the eye and quite tasty. I finished the dish with chopped chives. French fry post to come later.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU FOR FINALLY ADDDING BEEF! Love the recipe. I will never apologize for loving meat-my ancestors would be very upset.


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