Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's What's for Dinner.

Suggestions on preparing steak:

If you prefer your steak tender on the interior and seared on the outside but don't have access to a 1800 degree oven I have some suggestions to give you a very comparable result with a just stove top and toaster oven.

Assuming you've acquired a nice cut of 8 or so ounces of meat, season liberally with your favorites. I personally like course ground sea salt, course black pepper and course ground dried garlic. The dried garlic is not going to be as good as fresh, but is certainly better than powdered if you have access to it. I suggest doing the top and bottom and using any seasoning that didn't stick to coat the sides of the meat. The point of the seasoning (other than to provide flavor), is to create an additional barrier to be seared without cooking the interior too much. If you use any salt, it also helps remove moisture from the exterior, helping the searing process.

Ideally you'll want to let the cut of meat rest until it reaches room temperature. In the meantime you can preheat your toaster oven. I usually set it to broil at the max temperature (in this case 450 degrees). You should let it heat for at least 10 minutes.

Before proceeding you may want to disable or block off your fire alarm as the next step creates a lot of smoke. Setup a pan (non-stick is probably easiest) on the stove top and put some olive oil in there. Enough prevent sticking but not enough to fry. Set the stove top to the highest setting and wait for the oil to start smoking. The smoke is your cue that the oil is hot enough. Once you've reached the smoking point, gently lay the meat in the pan. Let it cook on each side for about 1.5-2 minutes. This is crucial, we simply want to sear the exterior so that the toaster can continue searing as well as cook the meat internally. If you have the heat too low, or leave the steak in the pan for too long you'll end up cooking it which you don't want at this point. When you get to the point to flip it over, it should be a nicely browned on the edges. Be careful of the hot oil/splashes.

Take the steak immediately off of the pan and put it in your toaster. I don't like using tin foil, only because it stifles the circulation on the underside of the steak. Using just the rack helps cook everything faster and a little more evenly. Assuming you like it medium rare, after abour 10-12 minutes (the steak can be witnessed sizzling at this point), you can remove the steak from the toaster and let it rest for about 2 minutes.

If you cut it too quickly the juices will escape more rapidly which for some people is not preferred. It also gives it time to cool down a little before slicing it up. If you like it more well cooked, you can leave it in the toaster for several minutes more if you please. You could also skip the searing step if you wanted a more well done piece and just toss it in the preheated toaster.

The above is based on suggestions I've picked up from various shows and what has worked for me, so your mileage my vary.

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