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Home-cooked steak

CEBU, Philippines — The celebrations in Cebu continue. The Sinulog season is beginning to sizzle. Different from the recent Christmas and New Year holidays, Cebuanos expect more visitors now since the festivities are specific to Cebu.

Many homes in the city are going to overflow with guests – mainly relatives and friends from other places – in the next few days. In these few days, food would certainly be an issue – or at least a matter that needs attention. It would be a good number of meals to cover, with a good number of mouths to feed at each.

The home’s ‘kitchen crew’ needs to have a ready list of recipes that are simple and easy to do. And yet, perhaps the host family also wants to make a good impression with the house guests. Okay, some ‘sophisticated’ dishes can be given a home tweak, simplifying it without sacrificing quality and taste.

Let’s have steak as example. A good steak should have a crusty, crunchy, brown exterior surrounding a core of perfectly juicy, tender meat, evenly from edge to edge. It does not have charred exterior and a burnt-flavor interior. Instead, it should be chin-drippingly juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Problem is, most homes do not have a professional chef to do it right. For the most part, it’s simply trial-and-error. Yes, anyone may experiment, but there’s always that fear of wasting away good meat.

Chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, at www.seriouseats.com, has an advice for those who want to know how to grill a steak: “Do not do it the way they do it at steakhouses.” It seems to go against the common desire of cooking the restaurant way. Surely a restaurant with years of experience cooking hundreds of steaks a day knows how to do it right.

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In a steakhouse setting, the goal is consistency, quality, and more importantly – speed, Chef J. Kenji points out. “Hungry customers don’t want to have to wait for their orders, and a steakhouse has equipment and techniques designed to meet those parameters.”

At home, consistency and quality are important, not so much speed. There’s time to treat the meat right – and so it’s possible to cook steak at home much better than it can be done at any steakhouse.

A home-cooked steak does not have to be fancy – but it has to be tasty… much better if it can be both. Here’s a grilled steak recipe adapted from Bobby Fray’s recipe at www.foodnetwork.com. It’s really quite simple to try at home.

Rib-Eye Steak

Ingredients:

4 pcs boneless rib-eye, about 1½-inch-thick, trimmed

2 tbsp canola or extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Procedure:

1. About 20 minutes before grilling, let the steaks sit, covered, at room temperature.

2. Light the charcoal grill and let the charcoal burn evenly.

3. Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes on one side.

4. Turn the steaks over and continue to grill for 3 to 5 minutes for medium-rare, 5 to 7 minutes for medium or 8 to 10 minutes for medium-well.

5. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before slicing into bite-size pieces.

Note: If grilling is not possible, pan searing or cooking on a real hot heavy skillet with little oil is the next best alternative. Likewise, rib-eye may be substituted with a kilo of fillet mignon.

 

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