My first installment for Food Friday is based on the recipes that Ann and I learned at Table for Two a few weeks back. So, all the original and better ways to do this come from Executive Chef Robert Hall from the Rockefeller Institute. When you do it with Chef Hall watching for mistakes, it comes out looking like this:
Of course, if you’re reading about food on this blog, you likely cannot hire an executive chef for your daily cooking. You want a home tip or two.
Here is how we worked this out at home.
First, of course, when you cook you have to think through ingredients and tools. Nobody with any real sense buys new pots, pans, or kitchen tools every week for new meals. You purchase multi-taskers as you find a need for them. Fortunately, this particular meal requires a couple of things that should be standard in your kitchen. You need:
- A cast iron skillet.
- Another skillet or saute pan. I used a 10-inch stainless steel for this recipe.
- A set of tongs. We have some tongs that are silicon-covered aluminum tips. They work great for this type of thing.
Ingredients? Of course you need ingredients. Here’s the catch for me: I can shop at a local Wal-mart, occasionally a local farmer’s market that doesn’t have much, and at a Kroger but it’s inconvenient to get to. My goal is generally to make one stop and get everything, so we are not looking at the fanciest of supply chains.
To cook what we ate will take:
- Steak. I found thin cut strip steaks with a yellow price that week, so they were cheaper.
- Green beans: you can buy fresh and blanch them, or you can buy frozen ones and use them straight up. Fresh is better, but we used frozen, “French” green beans. You’re after the skinny ones, not the fat ones.
- Edamame: there’s a shelled edamame in the freezer section at Walmart. These are optional, but they are a good texture addition.
- Some fresh mushrooms, sliced.
- Butter, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper. Obviously, fresh garlic and rosemary are nice, but you do what you can. Butter: we’re starting to shift to unsalted butter at Chef Robert’s instruction, but I think we used some of the salted in the freezer for this.
Now, on to process. First thing first: wash your hands. That should go without saying, but I said it anyway.
Next: get the meat out on the counter, let it start rising to room temperature. Putting a little salt on it will not hurt right now.
While those are warming, you may choose to cover them loosely with a paper towel to keep from bumping them. Remember: raw meat should not come in contact with ready-to-eat stuff. These got salted and then set out of the way.
At this point, the next step is to put the cast iron skillet on the burner. Since I’m working on a flat-top electric range, I put it on at medium and let it sit there. It’s on the back burner, getting hot. Say it with me, though: Children, don’t touch the hot pan. It will burn you, and you will cry.
If your pan is well-prepped, you can let it get hot while you work on other tasks. If it smokes too much, turn the heat down. If it bursts into flames, get out.
(See the set up?)
Now, you want to start melting your butter in the other skillet. This is two tablespoons of butter and a splash of vegetable oil. Keeps the butter from burning, or so I’m told.
I put that on a medium high for it to melt. Then, we turn our attention to the target of all the heat. Remember, your steaks are sitting out of the way, getting ready to be seared up nicely.
You need to gather your vegetables. I chose a mix of mushrooms, edamame, and green beans.
(That’s them in the bowl.)
Once the butter is melted and there’s a bit of foaming in the skillet, I added some rosemary and some garlic. Mixed that up, and then cautiously dumped that bowl into the butter/herb mixture. This gets stirred around for a couple of minutes.
At the same time this is happening, your cast iron should be hot. In fact, you should check your iron skillet for warmth before you dump your vegetables into the steel skillet. If it’s good and hot, then go ahead and lay your steaks down into the skillet. They should sizzle and stick.
Leave them alone. Seriously. Let them stick right there for a couple of minutes. Once they have seared on that edge, guess what? They will let go of the pan. You should find the timing to be somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes.
Or about the same amount of time you will need to stir and saute your vegetables. Turn off the heat to the veggies, and then flip your steaks. If they let go easily, they’re cooked on that side.
Once they hit the heat (I found it helpful to lay them where they had NOT been laying, as best possible, for heat), put a tablespoon or two of butter and some garlic, and put it in the skillet between the steaks. (I was cooking 2 at a time.) At this point, if two steaks is your goal, you can actually shut off the heat, especially on an electric range. There’s enough heat there to finish off.
As the steaks sit for about the same time on that side as the prior side, the butter will melt, and the flavor of the garlic with the butter will stick to the steak. When it lets go of the pan, take it out and put it on a plate. Or, pull it up, flip it, and put a lid over the pan to move it to “well-done,” but I’m a medium guy.
This is how it looked when it was about finished. I don’t have a completed project picture.
If you plate the steak, then put the vegetables beside it, the meat will have time to rest. ALWAYS LET THE MEAT REST!
Unless you like it to loose its juice, that is.
This a great meal. I would say I used a bit too much butter on the vegetables, but otherwise it was excellent. Of course, add salt or pepper to taste. Especially a good pepper to the steaks before they hit the pan. Ours took 4 minutes a side and you could cut them with a simple table knife. The beans-edamame-mushrooms were a great side.
What do you think? Going to try it? Or coming over and doing it with us some night?
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