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TIP OF THE DAY: How To Cook Steak On The Stove Top…& Why Meat Needs To Rest

Three years ago, GQ magazine sent us an article by Lang Whitaker, on how to cook a steak on the stove top.

In the winter, those who grill outside may not be motivated to do so. Households without grills need an inside option. Apartment dwellers may lack ventilation, and set off the smoke alarm trying to grill on the stovetop. Hence, the technique.

Sometimes things get buried in a [digital] pile. Such was the case with this article.

But it’s winter again and a juicy steak is warm comfort food. Here, finally, is the technique, adapted from the original article.

It was designed for people who cook inside in a kitchen without a great ventilation system. Otherwise, cooking a steak on the stovetop, with high heat, can trigger the smoke alarm.

The trick here is to cook for a longer time, with medium heat. A crusty, juicy steak can be cooked on any stove top.
 
 
COOKING A STEAK ON THE STOVE TOP

Ingredients

  • Steak 1″ thick, preferably thicker
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (substitute thyme)
  • 4 cloves unpeeled garlic, crushed once with the skillet
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cast iron skillet or equivalent (don’t use a nonstick pan)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TAKE the steak from the fridge. You don’t need to let it warm to room temperature. Alain Ducasse recommends first rendering the fat from the sides of the steak, but you don’t need to do this if the steak doesn’t have a lot of fat; and unlike a three-star Michelin chef, if you’re not serving it to high-paying customers.

    2. COAT one side of the steak generously with salt and pepper. Put the steak seasoned-side down into the cold, dry pan. Place half of the butter on the side, along with a twig of rosemary and two crushed garlic cloves.

    3. TURN on the heat to medium: On a scale of 1-10, it shouldn’t be higher than 6. Let the steak cook for 10 minutes; the butter will melt in the process. Tiny wisps of smoke are O.K., but avoid heavier smoke and sizzling. If that happens, turn the heat down. After 10 minutes…

    4. REMOVE the steak from the pan and set it on a plate, cooked side down. Using a paper towel, wipe the pan clean, discarding the garlic and rosemary.

     

    Raw Sirloin
    [1] Season the meat (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Steak In Grill Pan
    [2] Cook and flip (photo courtesy Let The Baking Begin Blog).

    Strip Steak Cooked
    [3] Resting, on the way to the dinner plate (photo courtesy Double R Ranch).

     
    5. SALT and pepper the raw side of the steak, and place it seasoned side down in the pan. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the rest of the butter, rosemary and garlic. After another 10 minutes…

    6. TILT the pan to a side and spoon some of the hot, flavored butter over the steak. Then flip the steak and do the same with the other side.

    7. PLACE the steak on a plate and let it rest for ten minutes before slicing.
     
     
    WHY ALL MEAT SHOULD REST AFTER COOKING

    As meat cooks, the proteins heat up and set (become firm). The more cooked the meat, the more set the proteins.

    This is why chefs can judge the doneness of a steak or chop by pressing a finger on the top. The softer the meat, the more rare it is; the firmer the meat, the more done it is.

    When the proteins set, they push the meat’s juices towards the center of the piece. If you cut the cooked meat before resting it, the juices will burst out onto the plate, leaving you with a drier piece of meat.

    But if you let the meat stand away from the heat for 10 minutes (longer for roasts and turkeys), resting allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Then, the meat will lose less juice when cut, leaving it far more tender and juicy.
     
     
    HOW TO REST MEAT

    Remove the meat from the heat and place it on a warm plate or serving platter (we microwave the plate to warm it). Cover the meat loosely with foil. If you cover it tightly, the hot meat will sweat and lose the moisture you are trying to preserve!

    The time taken to rest depends on size. A rule of thumb used by some chefs is, 1 minute of resting time for every 3.5 ounces (100g) of meat.

  • Steaks or chops should stand for 5 minutes before serving (3 minutes for a small piece).
  • Roasts should rest for 10 to 20 minutes before carving.
  • A turkey should rest at least 20 minutes; add more time for a jumbo bird.
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    NATIONAL PIZZA WEEK: 40 Ways To Eat Your Slice

    Carbonara Pizza
    [1] Carbonara pizza uses two ingredient of Spaghetti Carbonara: bacon and eggs. Here’s the recipe from Today.com.

    Pissaladiere
    [2] Pissaladière, a specialty of Nice, France, made with niçoise olives, anchovies, onions and Provençal herbs. According to a former mayor of Nice, the layer of onions on a pissaladière should be half as thick as the crust. Here’s the recipe from Saveur.

    Baked Ziti Pizza
    [3] A baked ziti pizza. The idea is said to have been born as a way to use leftover ziti. Here’s the recipe from Hey That Tastes Good.

    Pizza Cone
    [4] Pizza cones. Here’s the recipe from Une Cuillere En Bois (use Translate.Google.com if you don’t read French).

    Smoked Salmon Pizza
    [5] Smoked salmon pizza. Here’s the recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon.

     

    The second week in January is National Pizza Week (February 9th is National Pizza Day).

    A couple of years ago, Food Republic sent us a large infografic with a global look at 40 different ways to eat pizza.

    We didn’t think the infographic worked in our format, but we [finally!] transcribed it. We present them to you in alphabetical order.

    Pick something new to have this week. We’re going for a piece of Maltese pizza, and a piece of Frutti Di Mare chaser. If we knew where to find it, we’d have a sashimi pizza chaser after that.

    If not specified, the pies have a conventional crust.

  • Bagel Pizza: tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni on bagel halves.
  • Baked Ziti Pizza: cooked ziti, tomato sauce, mozzarella, ricotta.
  • Breakfast Pizza: sausage, cheddar, scrambled eggs topped with bacon.
  • Carbona Pizza: guanciale, pecorino-romano cheese, heavy cream, scallions, black pepper, eggs.
  • Calzone*: bread dough folded over meat, cheese and vegetables, and baked.
  • Cauliflower Crust: cooked cauliflower mixed with egg and cheese, baked, topped, then baked again.
  • Chicago Pizza: crispy deep dish, cheese, tomato sauce.
  • French Bread Pizza: French bread sliced lengthwise, tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni.
  • Frutti Di Mare Pizza: tomato sauce, mussels on the half shell, clams, octopus, squid, shrimp.
  • Grandma Slice: square slice, cheese topped with tomato sauce.
  • Greek Pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, feta, kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, oregano.
  • Grilled Pizza: grilled dough, tomato sauce, cheese, toppings.
  • Hawaiian Pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, fresh pineapple.
  • Jumbo Slice: an extra-large slice of pizza.
  • Kebab Pizza From Sweden: tomato sauce, cheese, sliced kebab meat, yogurt sauce, pepperoncini.
  • Lahm Bi Ajeen (lebanese meat pie): ground spiced lamb, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, pine nuts.
  • Mac & Cheese Pizza: elbow macaroni, cheddar, American cheese and mozzarella.
  • Maltese Pizza: potato, fresh tomato, anchovies, olives, rosemary.
  • Mexican Pizza: tortillas, enchilada sauce, tomatoes, black peans, scallions, Mexican cheese blend.
  • Neapolitan: San Marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, cooked in a wood-burning oven.
  • New York Slice: thin crust, tomato sauce, cheese, oregano, chile flakes.
  • Pissaladière: bread dough, caramelized onions, anchovies, garlic, niçoise olives.
  • Pizza Cone: dough baked into a cone, filled with layers of tomato sauce and cheese.
  • Puck’s Smoked Salmon Pizza: crème fraîche, smoked salmon, black caviar, red onion, dill.
  • Quad City Pizza: malt dough, spicy tomato sauce, crumbled Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, sliced into strips.
  • Quattro Formaggi: tomato sauce; mozzarella, gorgonola, fontina and asiago cheeses.
  • Roman Al Taglio†: thick square slices with various toppings, sold “by the cut.”
  • St. Louis Pizza: yeast-free thin crust, sweet tomato-oregano sauce and Provel‡ cheese, “tavern-cut” into squares.
  • Salad Pizza: romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, olives, Greek dressing.
  • Scottish Pizza Crunch: half a pizza, battered, deep fried and served with French fries and vinegar.
  • Sicilian Pizza: thick crust, tomato sauce, cheese.
  • Stromboli*: meat, cheese and vegetables rolled into bread dough and baked.
  • Stuffed Crust Pizza: hot dogs or mozzarella sticks rolled and baked into the edge of the crust.
  • Sushi Pizza: deep-fried rice crust, sashimi, scallions, tobiko, spice mayo.
  • Tarte Flambée: thin crust, crème fraîche, white onions, bacon lardons.
  • Tomato Pie: thick crust, fresh tomato sauce, sprinkled with romano cheese.
  • Tuna & Sweet Corn: tuna, corn, red onion, cheddar cheese.
  • White/Bianca Pizza: garlic, ricotta, mozzarella.
  • White Clam Pie (“Abizza”): littleneck clams, pecorino-romano cheese, garlic, oregano, olive oil.
  • World’s Most Expensive Pizza: crème fraîche, salmon roe, black caviar, truffle, edible gold.
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    *Calzones are basically folded pizzas, made from pizza dough and stuffed with the same ingredients as pizza – almost always tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, usually ricotta, often pepperoni and maybe some other cheese and cured meats – and then folded over like an omelette. Stromboli are more like pizza rolls.

    †Pizza al taglio or pizza al trancio is a baked in large rectangular trays, and generally sold in rectangular or square slices by weight.

    ‡According to Wikipedia, “Provel is a white processed cheese particularly popular in St. Louis cuisine, that is a combination of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses, and tastes nothing like any of them.” It is sold in blocks, like supermarket cheddar, and is “rarely used elsewhere.”

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pesce En Brodo, Fish In Broth

    Brodo di pesce, fish soup, is an Italian term for what has been made in coastal, lake and river communities for millennia.

    Freshly-caught fish went into a pot with water and whatever vegetables were available to flavor it. Water plus vegetables equals vegetable broth.

    Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish soup or stew (the difference), a recipe that originated in the port city of Marseille, France, and is the city’s signature dish.

    Cooking anything en brodo simply means you are cooking it in a flavorful broth. It’s not just for fish: tortellini en brodo is a favorite Italian pasta dish.

    Back to the fish:

    As rustic fish stews/soups evolved, a variation emerged using pricier fish fillets instead of cheaper cuts. The fillets were poached in the already-prepared broth, and pesce en brodo, emerged.

    (Note: brodo di pesce is fish broth, pesce en brodo is fish in a broth. If you see the term in brodo, it’s an American misspelling).
     
     
    WHY PESCE EN BRODO BELONGS ON YOUR TABLE

  • It’s an easy way to cook flavorful fish. Any fillet will work. If your broth is prepared in advance, it takes just 10 minutes to poach the fish.
  • You consume more fish, in a preparation that is low in calories and flexible to use any ingredients on hand (open the fridge and throw in whatever vegetables and herbs you have).
  • You can add endless personal touches, starting with the broth: coconut, green curry, lemon, tomato, etc. For a hack, start with a carton of Swanson vegetable broth.
  • You can poach your greens alongside the fish.
  • You can add regional touches, from Creole to Italian to Thai.
  • You can top the fish with a garnish: cherry tomatoes, gremolata, nuts, pesto, salad [photo #1]), etc.
  • You can have fun with it, and make endless variations.
  •  
    Pesce en brodo also accommodates different cooking techniques. You can poach the fish in the broth; or it can be broiled, grilled, or steamed*.
     
    For extra points, can serve it with a crusty baguette or garlic bread.

    There are many recipes for fish en brodo and fish in brodo online (a search for pesce en brodo will give you recipes in Italian). Or, Search generically for “fish” or for a specific fish (cod, snapper, etc.).

    Here’s an easy recipe for the fish of your choice in a tomato-accented broth.
     
     
    RECIPE: FISH IN TOMATO BROTH (PESCE EN BRODO DI POMODORO)

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 shallots, in 1/4 inch slices
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional vegetables (celery, fennel, spinach, etc.)
  • Optional greens garnish: arugula, baby spinach or watercress
  •  

    Snapper En Brodo
    Red snapper in coconut broth, with clams, vegetables and Chinese sausage, at Pakpao Thai | Dallas

    Grilled Trout En Brodo
    [2] Grilled trout set in a fish broth, at Pakpao Thai | Dallas.

    Black Bass En Brodo
    [3] Black bass in an herb brodo with droplets of basil olive oil, at Empire Diner | NYC.

    Cod En Brodo
    [4] A smaller first course, at Mihako’s 21 grams.

  • 1 pound skinless striped bass, red snapper, or halibut fillets, cut into 4 pieces
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the wine, water and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the rest of the ingredients except the fish, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the tomatoes soften.

    2. PLACE the fish fillets in the skillet, spooning some of the broth over them. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

    3. LIFT the fish and tomatoes, using a slotted spoon, into shallow bowls. Discard the thyme and ladle the broth and shallots (and optional vegetables) into each bowl. Garnish with additional fresh thyme or other herbs, or with the optional greens garnish.

     
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    *The difference between poaching and steaming: With poaching, the fish (or other food) must be completely submerged in the liquid. It is cooked by the hot liquid. With steaming, Steamed the food sits above the liquid in a steamer basket or other device. It is cooked by the steam.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Add Fruit To Lunch & Dinner Mains

    Chicken Breast With orange
    [1] Grilled chicken breast with grilled orange slices (all photos courtesy Sun Basket).

    Steak Salad With Orange Segments
    [2] Steak salad with mandarin segments.

    Pork Chop With Apples
    [3] Pork chop in broth with vegetables and apples.

    Salmon With Pink Grapefruit
    [4] Grilled salmon with pink grapefruit and carrots.

     

    Breakfast is the meal of the day that’s welcoming to fruit additions. Bananas, berries and oranges frequently appear with cereal, eggs and pancakes.

    But when lunch and dinner arrive, the plates laden with salad and vegetables, fruit gets short shrift.

    Yet, fruits pair nicely with grilled, roasted and sautéed proteins.

    So even if you plan to serve fruit for dessert, add a different fruit to the main plate. It adds color as well as another layer of texture and flavor, including a shot of sweetness. Think:

  • Chicken and oranges
  • Pork chops and apples
  • Salmon and red grapefruit
  •  
    You know what the seasonal options are, but here’s a winter list for immediate inspiration (and a full list of winter fruits and vegetables):

    MIX & MATCH

    PROTEINS

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Ground meat (burgers, meat loaf)
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Steak
  •  
    FRUITS

  • Apples
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit (especially pink and red)
  • Oranges, mandarins, kumquats
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate arils
  •  
    You may also come across less familiar fruits like cherimoya. Pick one up and try it! While it’s not berry season, you’ll find different varieties in stores, and they work, too.
     
     
    YOU DON’T HAVE TO COOK THE FRUIT

    You can serve the fruit raw; there’s no need to cook it. You can slice it into rounds or wedges, dice it, or in the case of oranges and mandarins, segment it (the difference between oranges and mandarins).

    And then there’s Plan B, pomegranate arils. You can buy them in bags, and toss them onto just about anything for juicy dots of color.

    If you’re already grilling or sautéeing, you can toss the fruit into the pan. Our favorites:

  • Grilled citrus
  • Sautéed apples and pears
  •  
    Have fun with it!

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Ways To Eat More Veggies

    We’re still in the first blush of the new year, and have actually exercised every day and eaten more healthfully (except for an errant black-and-white cookie).

    We’ve been going down the list below, sent to us by Sara Siskind, a Certified Nutritional Health Counselor and founder of Hands On Healthy cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York City.

    The biggest piece of advice from everyone—health professionals, the government, environmental experts—is to eat more plant-based foods (and fewer animal-based foods).

    Here are Sara’s tips for the healthiest, most sustainable lifestyle: a balanced diet with an emphasis on eating more plants. Easy swaps can add more nutrients into your diet while saving calories.

    There are easy ways to incorporate more plants into your meals without having to sacrifice your favorite foods.
     
     
    1. Lettuce or collard wraps.

    When you are making a sandwich, swap out the bread and replace it with lettuce or a collard green wrap. Sushi lovers can order cucumber wraps, called naruto rolls, which replace the rice with a better-for-you strip of cucumber.
     
     
    2. Purée veggies for dozens of uses.

    You can eat your veggies roasted, sautéed or steamed (let’s not talk about fried).

    But for variety, purée them! Bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas, spinach, squash…just look down the produce aisle for inspiration.

    Puréed vegetables are a delicious side, and you can place the protein on top of them (photo #2). But also use them a base for soups, sauces, lasagna and other recipes.
     
     
    3. Add vegetables to breakfast.

    While a restaurant may add some tomato slices or green vegetables to a plate of eggs, few people add vegetables to home breakfasts. It’s a great opportunity.

    Turn regular eggs into a vegetable omelet or scramble or serve them as a side or base (photo #3).

    Spread mashed avocado on toast instead of butter, for more fiber, fewer calories and no animal fat. You can even add tomato and onion or sprouts on top for an extra veggie boost.

    Sauté or steam vegetables the day before and heat them up for breakfast. Keep chopped vegetables in the fridge so it’s easy to toss them into any snacks or meals.

    And for even more veggies, start the meal with a glass of vegetable juice.
     
     
    4. Tuck vegetables into smoothies.

    Fruit smoothies present an easy way to sneak in greens. Blend in a handful of spinach or kale; you won’t even taste it!

    If you first wash, dry, chop, and freeze your greens, you can reduce spoilage and waste, and also make it easier to whip up your smoothie.
     
     
    5. Make vegetable chips.

    Craving salty pretzels and fried potato chips? Substitute homemade vegetable chips.

    Try baking chopped kale, thinly sliced sweet potatoes or beets with a touch of olive oil and sea salt. We find it particularly easy to make microwave chips with the Mastrad microwave chip maker.

    Many markets are even carrying them pre-made for easy snacking on the go.

     

    Turkey Collard Wrap
    [1] A turkey wrap sandwich in collard greens. Also inside: cucumber matchsticks and dried cranberries (photo David Venable | QVC).

    Baked Fish Pureed Peas
    [2] Use puréed vegetables in different ways. Here’s a recipe for baked fish on pea puree (substitute any vegetable) from Taste.com.au.

    Fried Egg With Vegetables
    [3] Set a fried egg atop a mix of vegetables; here, sautéed greens and zucchini, with edamame and diced avocado. The optional walnut pesto provides added protein and flavor. Here’s the recipe from The Delicious Life.

    Soup With Sliced Almonds
    [4] Soup garnished with sliced almonds and diced poblanos, at Frontera Grill | Chicago.

     
     
    6. Eat more vegetable pasta.

    Trade wheat pasta for vegetable pasta: spiralized butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini can be found in produce cases (but it’s fun to spiralize your own at home).

    Top it with your favorite sauce and grated cheese for a comfort food fix without the guilt.

    Not ready to switch 100%? Blend half wheat pasta with half vegetable pasta. Here’s a recipe.
     
     
    7. Top everyday foods with nuts and/or seeds.

    While nuts and seeds aren’t vegetables, they should be on any list of healthier eating.

    The USDA recommends an ounce of nuts per day as part of a heart-healthy diet. Add a crunchy garnish of nuts and/or seeds to a mixed green salad, or a soup garnish (photo #4). You’ll add protein and heart-healthy omega 3 fats.

    The same goes for garnishes or mix-ins with quinoa, rice or other cooked grains. You can also sprink;e nuts or seeds over yogurt, oatmeal and other breakfast cereals.

    Toss them into smoothies, snack on them straight, or make a lower-calorie trail mix with dried apple chips and Cheerios.

    Here’s wishing all of us the focus to stick with our resolutions.

      

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