Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Steak Dinner at Home

Sometimes I just crave a simple (and cheap) steak dinner. While most places in NYC is upwards of $40 for a steak due to the dry aging process, I decided to do a simple one at home. And I used one of the cheapest cuts of beef out there, flank. The flank is located near the belly of the cow. It doesn't have much fat or marbling in it. But it's a tasty piece of meat and costs very little compared to more favored steaks like rib eye or filet mignon. One note of advice though, if you like your steak medium to well done, this cut will be very bad for you. It will be too tough and almost inedible. You have been warned. First, I let my meat come to room temperature on the counter. This is for more even cooking. Next, I liberally season the meat with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of oil on both sides. I bring a pan with vegetable oil (do NOT use olive oil here due to its low smoking temp) to a scorching temperature. You kind of want the oil to be smoking just slightly. Add the beef slowly and let it sear. Do not touch! The meat will not caramelize properly if you do. After a couple of minutes, I lower the temperature to prevent burning. You can see that I left the tough membrane on the meat. A lot of people don't like it because it's difficult to eat. However, I kind of like the chewiness of it. I don't like it all the time but tonight I wanted it. Once you flip your meat, you want to bring another pan onto the stove but this time filled with water. This is for my glorious poached egg. I love a runny egg. When the water forms bubbles right before its about to boil, lower the temperature. It should be at a state where it's just slightly quivering like the lower lip of a child that's just about to cry. Next, add a splash of vinegar right in the area where you are going to add your egg. This helps keep the white together. Next, add your egg slowly into the water and try not to move it at all. The white will slowly cook and becomes opaque. Once you can't see any raw whites anymore, turn off the fire. But leave the egg in the water until you are ready for it. At this time, the steak should be cooked. You should take it out of the pan and let it rest on a plate. While the juices of the meat run back inside, I prepare a very simple salad using baby lettuce. I got this from my local CSA share from Upper Meadows Farm. They're very gentle and the flavor is fantastic. I whip up a vinaigrette using red wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Finally, the plating. First the steak, then the poached egg right on top. Lastly, add your lettuce to the dressing. Then add it to your plate. If you dress greens beforehand, then they just wilt. Not a good salad. Lots of flavors here: meat juices, runny egg yolk, and salad dressing. So very, very good and satisfying. As you can see, my steak is barely cooked. It's rare to medium rare. The meat remained very tender and delicious. I have to admit that I love baby lettuce. It just tastes so different and it's so good. It's just lettuce but it just impressed my taste buds so much. Upper Meadows Farm 12 Pollara Lane Montague, NJ 07827 (973) 293-8171

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