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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Food journal number 50: Sunday steak

It's time yet again to resurrect the Food Journal. Though we've been cooking and menu-planning like never before in the new kitchen, I've sadly been a bit lazy to take photos and write. That's going to change now though. In the next few months, expect to hear about our attempts to eat more fish. I'll also allow you to take a peep into our lunchboxes. That's the plan.

This entry though, has nothing to do with fish or lunchboxes. It's about our Sunday steak, our weekend specialty. We've been cooking variants of this since forever, but each time I eat it I still think it's a better version of the last.

The meat is the star of the show, but even there we're tried variations. We've tried this dish with entrecôte, sirloin, and lately – the cheapest cut still good for this purpose in these hard times of rising meat prices – nicely-cut parts of the chuck (a.k.a fransyska). Flat iron steaks are sold in our City Gross grocery in trays marked "American BBQ tray", and the butcher said they were good for both grilling or frying into a steak. As the steak dinner is very filling, we divide the flat iron steak between the two of us (we cook it whole and cut later). This is more than enough steak because the cut is bigger than your two palms together. If the meat is frozen – which some probably will be if, like us, you buy a whole tray of meat – remember to let it slowly defrost over a day in the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature before frying. This results to better steaks than ones defrosted over a few hours on the kitchen counter.

As supporting cast to the meat: salt, pepper, a pinch of dried thyme, some crushed garlic heads. You also need foil and balsamic vinegar.

The variation that follows is what we've been having recently, which took inspiration from various Gordon Ramsey shows. The garlic, thyme and generous butter tricks are all from Gordon Ramsey shows. Thanks for the tip, Gordon. We love our steaks so much we can't really see a good reason to want to fly to your nearest restaurant in London.

Here's what we do:

1. Salt and pepper the meat generously. Repeat: generously.

2. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron skillet until very hot, and put in a splash of oil with low smoking-point (peanut oil or canola) together with a generous cut of butter, about 40 grams. Continue to heat the pan until butter has browned.

3. Fry one side 2.5 minutes, occasionally pouring the melted oil on top of the steak, where you have also put some thyme (dried or fresh) and the crushed garlic (See the picture above). After the time is up, turn the steak. Remember to take the garlic away first so that you can put it on the newly cooked side to pour butter on it again. The garlic is just there for flavor – not to be fried.

4. Have some aluminum foil handy! After the steak is done, wrap it shut in foil to let it rest on a plate for a while. It's supposed to reabsorb the moisture and the flavors that way.

Note: Yummy steaks are medium-rare. Anything more cooked than that is a sad gray excuse for steak. If you have thinly sliced meat cuts, the cooking time has to be lowered as well. Google "steak cooking time" if in doubt.

5. Next: don't wash the pan yet! See those things stuck to the pan? Those are tasty stuff! Dissolve them by pouring a dash (about a tablespoon) of balsamic vinegar to the pan – another trick we learned from surfing about steaks online. The product is a nice sauce for later. And no, it doesn't taste like vinegar.


Though the meat is the star of the show, we always always have steaks with the same tried-and-tested things: Green salad with some lemon juice and Sta. Maria Italian spice mix. Boiled potatoes, usually with the washed peels on. Crème fraiche, lovely with potatoes. Fish roe, "the dot on top of the I", to be put on top of the potatoes.

This fish roe is the common, cheap alternative to sturgeon caviar, and comes from a ridiculously ugly fish called lumpsucker (stenbit). With these things on your steak, your Sunday dinner is complete. Vegetarians beware: if we serve you this, you might convert.


Anonymous Lara said...

this looks so yummy, joy! i love steak but have always been scared to make them myself. can i try this with olive oil instead of butter or cooking oil? my tummy is not allowed anything fatty.

and now that you have mentioned summer in my blog comment, when are u planning on coming over? ;-)

9:09 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hej Lara!

Olive oil has a lower smoke point than either butter or peanut oil, so the oil will probably burn and make your kitchen very smoky... but aside from that, it should be okay because we tried it too before.

Not allowed fatty food? Why?

And I'll get back to you soon about when the last day of school / work. But what summer month is best, you think? BTW, it's really spring here now, flowers and everything. How is it in Ljusdal?

11:29 PM

Anonymous Lara said...

they found gallstones. i have been suffering a few attacks for a while now. im waiting for my surgery schedule.

nothing budding yet but it has been warming up (9 degrees!) lately. as you have seen in the photos, we have had really thick snow so its taking awhile for everything to melt. but i can somehow smell spring in the air now -- yey!

12:52 PM


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