>> Sunday, September 13, 2009
spinach salad all for under $40 total. This meal would have easily cost close to $200 at a nice steak house.
As a person with a tiny urban kitchen, I was really looking for a way to make restaurant quality seared steaks without causing so much smoke that I would set off various building-wide fire alarms (ahem . . I learned the HARD way from past experience).
I found this great method in Cook's Illustrated May 2007 issue. Unlike most methods, you bake the steaks at low heat for 30 minutes before searing them on a cast-iron grill pan. The resulting steak is amazingly tender and juicy, very nicely and evenly browned, and does not cause as much smoke as the traditional method. I'm sold.
You can use strip steaks, rib-eye, or filet mignon with this method. If you are using filet mignon, buy a 2 pound center cut tenderloin roast and cut it into four 8-oz steaks.
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.
2-rib-eye steaks (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 T vegetable oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 275 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Dry the steaks with a paper towel and cut the 16-oz steaks in half to make 2 8-oz steaks (still same thickness!). Generously sprinkle the steaks on both sides with sea salt and pepper. (Ideally the steaks would be at or close to room temperature)
This slow baking at a low temperature allows enzymes in the meat (cathepsins) to break down connective fibers, making the meat super tender. It's sort of like dry aging at turbo speeds in the oven. This enzyme only works at temperatures below 140 degrees, which is why hot broiling the steaks for a short amount of time does not cause this tenderizing effect. In our case, we have slowly baked and "aged" the steak in the oven under low heat for 15 minutes (or longer, if you like medium steaks!)
You can use an instant read thermometer. I used this cool thermometer which beeps at you when your desired temperature is reached. You stick the probe in the meat and then the unit sits outside. I picked up this Taylor one at Target for only $20 (the one at Williams-Sonoma was $50!). It worked like a charm.
No fire alarms were set off in the making of this blog post. :)