Cooking Adventures Lesson 1: Searing

27 Oct

Our Cooking "Textbook"

So yesterday, Bravo, Charlie and I tackled the first kill lesson in Alton Brown’s book, I’m Just Here for the Food. As you know, we didn’t have the called-for skirt steak so we used sirloin tip steak.

Getting the "hardware" and "software" ready

The recipe called for only a few ingredients, or what Alton calls “software”: steak, oil, salt, and pepper.  The “hardware,” or equipment, he recommends is cast iron pan (which we happen to have thanks to our friend Emilie who gave it to us before moving out of the country).

Seasoning the meat

As per Alton’s directions, we let the meat sit out for 15 minutes to bring it up to room temperature and decrease the difference between the temperature of the meat and the temperature of the pan.  We lightly coated it with oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper and then gave it a good rub.  The girls both thought that was a little weird but did it anyway.

Massaging the meat (really!)

After allowing the pan to heat up for a five minutes we carefully put the meat in, being careful not to move it once it hit the pan so we didn’t compromise the crust on the meat.

Is it supposed to smoke this much?

The first thing we were hit with was smoke.  And I mean A LOT of smoke.  Like Smoke-Gets-In-Your-Eyes smoke.  Like Smoke-On-The-Water smoke.  Like, the-fire-trucks-will-be-rolling-up-any-minute-now-because-our-neighbors-saw-smoke-pouring-out-of-our-windows smoke.  Seriously.  The photos don’t do it justice, but we almost couldn’t see the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen because it was so smoky.  We were a bit worried that the smoke detector never went off (which it has under much less smoky conditions—not that I am saying I burn things alot—so I think I will check the batteries on that thing today!) I don’t know if the pan was too hot or not seasoned enough or this is normal or what…but we had to supplement our oven’s exhaust:

Clearing the smoke

We concluded that our cuts of meat must have been thinner than a typical skirt steak because we followed the directions and cooked the first piece three minutes on each side, which was definitely too long.  By the third piece, we found that a minute on each side was enough.

Although some of the pieces were a little too charred, we enjoyed our seared steak with mashed potatoes.  Not bad for a first attempt.  Now we just have to clear that smoke.

Next week: Cast-Iron Duck.

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