Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pan-Seared Steak - It's What's For Dinner

Image from
Last night, I cooked the first steak I've cooked in over a year last night and it was DELICIOUS!! I guess I'll be needing to pick up a small bottle of red wine just for steaks. Here's why...

I seasoned the steak with steak seasoning (lightly) on both sides and seared it. It was a thin steak, so it didn't need lengthy cooking. I cooked it long enough to caramelize/sear the steak on the one side. When I took it out of the pan, there were loads of tasty bits in there, so I poured a tiny bit of red wine in and one of those Chinese restaurant packets of soy sauce as well to de-glaze the pan and create a sauce. It was just a quick thing - no reduction or anything like that - maybe a full tablespoon of sauce when I was done. But, OMG - that sure did taste good!! The steak, though small, was perfectly flavored (for me). 

The image that I found to use looks very much like my steak last night, although I didn't drink the red wine - I cooked with it. No potatoes with mine, but this is actually a pretty good likeness of what I had to eat.

I don't know why it took me so long to be able to try these kinds of things, but I honestly think it's because of Food Network that I even know about the concepts of de-glazing and the use of wine to make a sauce. My mother's cooking was "farm" cooking. Very basic, stick to your ribs but delicious, foods to fill the belly and taste good, too, were her specialties. I was never really that good at it, but my cooking generally was based on what I grew up on. 

Then, when we got cable, I discovered the Food Network and a whole new world of cooking opened up to me. I still didn't particularly like doing it, but I found myself learning more than I'd ever learned before. If it sounded good to me, I would make a mental note and try it at some point. So, there are still a few techniques that I know about that I haven't tried yet. Until last night, using wine to de-glaze a pan was one of them.

I've never cooked steaks well. They were always overcooked and tasteless. I ran the risk of overcooking this one, too, because it was pretty thin. But, after searing the one side, I barely left it in the pan on the other side so as to not overcook it. I succeeded in cooking a tasty, not dried-out, steak with a sauce that didn't need barbecue sauce to taste good. I was proud of the results. Not restaurant quality, maybe, but definitely worthy of a second go-round in the near future. 

So, thank you, Food Network. My kids may refer to you as "food porn", but you've really helped me think about the cooking of food in an entirely different way even as I stay true to my culinary roots.

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