I) There’s something about a long, busy day that makes me want to eat a steak. Maybe it taps into some primal need from when us men would hunt animals as our job, and after a long day would hunch in our loin cloths by the fire cooking slabs of dead something on sticks over the fire. Or maybe because it’s easy to make.
Cooking a steak isn’t very hard. Although we’ll shell out $40 per person for a good steak at a fancy steakhouse, you’re really paying for the high quality beef. Any properly trained primate can cook a steak. I’m not monkeying around (haha…).
Anyways, to cook a perfect steak multiple forms of energy must be used. If you try cooking the steak all on the stove (using conduction primarily) the heat will penetrate the meat from the bottom up at all times. Although this method will ensure a nice crust, you will be left with a thick section of overcooked meat surrounding a tiny center of medium-rare-perfection.
You could use convection heat. Just throw that steak in the oven. However, this method of pure convection leaves a rather gray slab of meat, unappetizing to look at and never really developing those deep, umami flavors (the all important maillard reaction wouldn’t really occur in the ten minutes it takes to cook the steak).
The answer to our problem? Use both!
II) Steak and Peas
For the Steak:
· Any good quality steak
· Salt and Pepper
· Oven safe pan
For the Peas:
· 1 bag frozen peas
· Juice and zest of lemon to taste
· Parmesan cheese to taste
· Salt and pepper
1. Heat an oven safe pan on high until you can only hold your hand above it for a second or so (basically until it’s really hot…). Take the meat out and let it come up to room temperature, allowing the meat to warm to room temperature will ensure even cooking. Salt and pepper the steak liberally. Put in pan and sear on first side for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Flip steak and put into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. This will give you about a medium rare steak, but your steak may be thinner or thicker than mine so adjust as necessary.
2. Once the steak has cooked, remove to a pan and cover with foil. Let the meat rest for a few minutes, this allows for the muscle to cool and for the juices to redistribute in the muscle.
3. Add the pan back on the heat with any leftover drippings and burnt pieces intact. Add the peas to this (here we’re using the drippings as the fat for the peas). Sauté until cooked to your liking. Finish with cheese and lemon.
4. To plate, lay a mound of peas on the bottom of the plate, top with slices of steak, and finish with additional cheese and lemon zest.
III) Results and Discussion
I enjoyed the brightness the peas and lemon brought to the dish, compensating for the richness of the steak. The peas are really just a side and can be switched out with anything. An Asian version might be interesting. Steak marinated in soy, hoisin, and peppers with a broccoli side (maybe with pinenuts or pangrattato), inspired by broccoli beef.