We had a relaxed, do-nothing kind of weekend. The girls didn't seem to mind the cold, so we romped around the back yard for a bit. I really need to get out there and rake the leaves. Why, oh why, didn't I do it when it was in the 60's? Oh yeah, my rake is busted. Santa, if you're listening, I also need a pitchfork to turn my compost. Pretty please!
Yesterday I decided to try out a technique for getting a brown crust on steak I learned on America's Test Kitchen. Did you know ATK is located right here in Boston? I'd love to go visit and watch them film the show. Total food nerd, I know. Anyway, the browning technique didn't really work, and I've decided it's because I couldn't leave the ultra-thin steak in the pan long enough, which resulted in it sticking to the skillet, creating an uber-mess. But blame the cook, not the technique. I've shared it below.
I was hoping to space out the eating of our newly purchased CSA meat,
but instead we've been ravenously consuming it daily, and it will
shortly be gone. Hey, it's our first month, and a holiday month to boot.
January is the month of moderation, right?
One of the reasons I love doing a CSA is learning about new food ingredients I've never seen. Kohlrabi and beets stand out as the best new-found items from our vegetable CSA days; however, it never occurred to me that we would also discover varieties of meat. Today I decided to cook our flat iron steak, which is a relatively new cut of meat just catching on. Didn't know there were new cuts of meat? Me neither, but apparently the science behind butchering is a many-splendored and layered art. Don't try to put it in a box, people.
I started with a simple marinade in the morning (thanks to Kalyn's Kitchen, one of my recent Pinterest finds), and by the afternoon it was ready for the royal cornstarch treatment. A quick sear in our cast iron skillet, and voila, steak salad is served.
This is becoming one of those food blogs, eh?...
1 smallish, cross-cut steak, marinade below (flank and skirt work if you can't find flat iron)
crumbled gorgonzola cheese
fried shallots, recipe follows
balsamic vinaigrette, made with Good Seasons Italian mix (I know, it's Kraft, but dee-licious)
Marinate steak for a few hours (up to 24) in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon, garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano, and smoked paprika. Remove steak at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
Brown crust technique
According to the masters at ATK, the secret to a brown steak crust is three-fold:
1) Dry, very chilly steak keeps it from overcooking
2) Salt and cornstarch wick moisture and create crust
3) Screaming hot pan/grill keeps it from sticking
I'm adding a fourth requirement: 4) Thick steak.
Pat steak dry with paper towels. Allow to air dry for a few minutes while you mix your rub. Stir together cornstarch and salt in a small bowl (2:1 ratio). Rub mixture liberally on all sides of the steak. Pop steak into the freezer for 15-30 minutes to chill prior to cooking.
There are probably lots of ways to pull it off, but here's how I do it. For the two of us, I take one palm-sized shallot and slice it cross-wise thinly with my sharpest knife. I pull the rings apart in a small bowl and top them with a few teaspoons of flour. I set up my station with a metal slotted spoon and a plate lined with paper towels.
Meanwhile, my small heavy pot is heating with 3 inches of canola oil over med-high heat to 350 degF (I don't have a oil thermometer but have learned my stove. This is a hit or miss method I don't recommend. Get the thermometer). Test readiness of your oil with a few drops of water; they should sizzle.
Drop in a few of the shallots and gently stir with the slotted spoon to ensure even cooking and keep them from sticking together. Watch closely, as each batch will only need about 2 minutes. Once browned, remove to towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Enjoy!
Editor's Note: This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Recipe Lion's March Blog Hop.