RARE, MEDIUM, WELL-DONE

Tips for making a perfectly cooked steak

photography by Michael Nielsen

In celebration of The Lakelander’s third anniversary, we have our minds set on a steak dinner: classic, timeless, and on occasion, rare (sorry, had to!). The recipes are based on an indoor skillet method, but these are easily adaptable to the grill. I’m not sure exactly what it is I love about steak night at my house; there’s just something that feels so good about knife-and-fork meals.

QUICK TIPS FOR COOKING THE PERFECT STEAK AT HOME

Experts agree that a high heat method is best for cooking most steaks. So, whether you’re grilling or using a skillet, make sure you take time to preheat properly.

Before cooking, be sure the steak has had time to rest at room temperature. This will help it to cook more evenly.

Minimal flips! To get the exciting jitters out, turn up MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” and dance around the skillet. If you’re able, estimate how much cooking time you’ll need for each side of the steak. For example: I personally enjoy my steak medium. If I’m cooking a thin New York strip in a skillet, I preheat the skillet on medium-high to high and cook on each side for 1-1/2 minutes. Yes, that’s it. Same goes for the grill: as much as you can, DON’T MOVE THE STEAK UNTIL IT’S TIME TO FLIP IT.

Marinade vs. dry rub vs. quick seasoning: This is personal preference. There aren’t many things we can control in life, so take advantage of this opportunity. I’ll list a few of my favorites later.

Steaks do not finish cooking on the grill or in a pan. At such high cooking temperatures, the meat continues to cook even after it’s removed from heat. For this reason, take the steak off the heat just before you think it has reached desired doneness. We all need rest — do yourself and the steak
a favor, and let it rest 10 minutes before plating.

Okee dokee, Smokey. Happy steak night!

PAN-SEARED STEAK WITH
WORCESTERSHIRE BUTTER

steak (We used a Porterhouse, but you can choose your favorite cut: ribeye,
filet, and T-bone are all just as tasty.)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
optional: garlic, your favorite herb, crushed red pepper

Whether using an indoor method or the grill, allow your cooking surface to heat up sufficiently. The thickness of your steak is also important, so take note
and adjust cooking times if necessary.

Bring the steak to room temperature and season with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (if cooking a thin steak, less than an inch thick, skip this step). Heat a skillet or ovenproof fry pan on high for 4-5 minutes. Add a little oil to the pan, which should be hot enough that the oil is almost smoking; then add the steak. Cook the steak for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side.

Now, adjust oven cook time to preferred doneness. Medium-rare 2 minutes, medium 4 minutes, medium-well 5 minutes, well 6-1/2 to 7 minutes. Remove steak from the pan and cover loosely with foil for a few minutes before plating. Top with a pad of Worcestershire butter and enjoy!

WORCESTERSHIRE BUTTER

1/4 cup (equals 4 Tbsp) butter, room temp
Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground pepper

Mix ingredients together with wire whisk and place in a small dish or shape it in between wax paper. Let it cool in the fridge until you’re ready to use. Done.

CRISPY, OVEN-BAKED POTATO WEDGES

4 russet potatoes
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash potatoes. Cut them into wedges by slicing lengthwise in half; then slice each half into three slices.
Place potatoes in a bowl of water with about two cups of ice cubes. Let them stand for 30 min, then pat dry with paper towels.
Place 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, and 1/4 tsp black pepper into a large Ziplock bag. Add potatoes, and shake everything together.
Add 1/8 cup of olive oil to the bag and toss until potatoes are coated.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place potatoes on the lined sheet and bake at 450 degrees F for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are cooked
through, browned, and crispy.
While potatoes are baking, chop 2 Tbsp fresh parsley and grate 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Place both into a large mixing bowl.
Toss potato wedges in the mixing bowl with parsley and cheese. Serve with warm White Cheddar Horseradish dip.

WHITE CHEDDAR HORSERADISH DIP

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
salt and black pepper to taste

While the potatoes are roasting, place butter in a medium-size pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk for about a minute. Pour in the milk and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cheese and horseradish until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

TOMATO JAM

3-1/2 pounds of tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriandar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon

Place all of the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until thickened, about 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Cool; then transfer to sterilized glass jars. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks, or use a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes for long-term storage. Spread it on your favorite bread, and buy local when possible (wink wink).

NANA’S POUND CAKE

1-1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz. sour cream
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually add flour. Stir the baking soda into the sour cream and then add to mixture. Add vanilla. Butter or spray a bundt pan with cooking spray, then pour batter into the pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

BRULEED BANANAS

ripe bananas
sugar

Thinly slice the bananas and sprinkle with a light, even layer of sugar. Using a *kitchen torch, evenly brown the top of the bananas. Let them cool for a few
minutes so the sugar cools and gets crisp. These are also a tasty addition to breakfast oatmeal!

*If you do not have a kitchen torch, move a rack to the top of the oven and broil the bananas for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn.

VANILLA-BEAN WHIPPED CREAM

1 pint heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Place a bowl and a whisk in the freezer for 30 minutes before mixing. Remove from freezer and place all of the ingredients in the bowl. If using a mixer, mix on low speed for about a minute and then finish on high or until you see stiff peaks. If mixing by hand, follow above steps and take deep breaths — you’re in for a bit of a workout!