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steak at low temp - recipe reprint

char buddy
char buddy Posts: 562
edited November -1 in EggHead Forum
this a reprint from the new york times- 2/27[p]Steak With Style: Easy Does It [p]
BYLINE: By Alain Ducasse [p] THERE is no country that produces better aged beef than the United States. And I know that you often do nothing more with a good steak than a simple grilling or broiling. Because the meat is so good, you can get excellent results that way. There are plenty of people who insist that doing anything more would ruin it. [p] But I believe there are techniques that can enhance a steak's flavor and tenderness. Even with such a superb ingredient, I take a more culinary approach: as a chef, I intervene in the preparation, and create a complete dish that is satisfying on many levels. This attitude, the demand of my profession, pervades all my food. I'm presenting the steak preparation in the first of my eight columns because it makes a point: I realize we're not talking about restaurant cooking. I have to take my thinking and my creativity out of my kitchen and make it relevant to you, the home cook. That's my challenge. I accept it gladly. [p] I believe that a good home cook is by nature no less exacting, no less rigorous than a chef when it comes to the quality of the ingredients, the aesthetics of a dish and the details of the preparation. But the home cook is less compulsive than I am about the consistency of every sprig of herb, every garlic clove, every slice of potato, every trace of sauce on the plate. At home you're not preoccupied with the notion that every dish has to be camera-ready. [p] But no matter how much I might obsess over minute details when I cook, my primary goal is to create a dish that respects the ingredients, offers a balance of flavor and texture and has integrity. [p] For my steak, I've selected well-aged beef and a cut, the rib eye, which, to me, certainly has the best flavor. I cut it thick, and I cook it on top of the stove because I have better control than if the steak were sitting on a grill or under a broiler. [p] Then I do something you will consider truly strange: I start by cooking the steak on its narrow side. I want to begin with the rim of fat on the edge, to render it so there is good, flavorful fat in the pan for the rest of the cooking. I'm also browning it so the finished steak will look immensely appetizing when it is served. [p] I continue to cook the beef on the flat sides, salting first, about 10 minutes on each side. I do not use very high heat, because you get good caramelization in that amount of time. I'm not interested in carbonizing the surface of the meat. To me that ruins the flavor. You must also take care not to pierce the meat, or it will be less juicy. Turn it with tongs or two spoons. [p] And now, here's where the chef really comes in. I crush a few big unpeeled cloves of garlic and put them in the pan along with a nice chunk of butter.
Don't get too worked up about the butter -- it's a trick steakhouses often use -- you need fat to carry the flavor of the garlic into the meat. I salt and pepper the meat, and baste it with the garlic-butter for the last few minutes. [p] Now comes a crucial step. The steak has to rest for at least half as long as it took to cook. This rule applies to any kind of meat that's not cooked in liquid, by the way. The juices, which run to the surface during the cooking, must be given a chance to retreat back into the meat so it will relax, be tender and juicy, and bloom with beefy flavor. You might now be content with the meat as it is, maybe with some crispy fries alongside. [p] In the restaurant we get only one portion from each of these steaks because we trim very carefully and would not put some of the smaller slices or oddly shaped pieces on the plate. We find other uses for those. But at home, once you have removed any big pockets of fat, you will serve the whole thing, and then each steak is plenty for two. There you have a perfect example of the difference in approach that I've been talking about. [p] The result is a beautifully tender steak with a richness that's almost sweet and intensified with salt and garlic. It's the way I love a steak.

Time: 45 minutes

2 24-ounce boneless rib-eye steaks, each about 1 1/2 inches thick, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Cranberry marmalade (see recipe)
Sauteed Swiss chard (see recipe). [p]
1. Place a heavy saute pan large enough to hold both steaks comfortably over medium heat. Stand steaks up in pan on fat side, and cook until fat has browned and most has been rendered into pan. [p] 2. Use tongs to turn steaks onto a flat side, dust with salt and cook until browned on one side. Turn, and cook on second side until somewhat undercooked. Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of fat, and add butter and crushed garlic. Baste steaks with butter and remaining fat until cooked almost to desired degree of doneness: for medium rare, it will take about 10 minutes on each side. [p] 3. Remove pan from heat, season steaks with salt and pepper, place a sprig of thyme on each, and set pan aside on unlighted burner. Steaks must rest in warm place at least 10 to 15 minutes. They can rest longer than that if placed in a 150-degree oven after the first 10 minutes. [p] Yield: 4 servings.