- Pepper your steak after grilling, charred pepper become bitter tasting.
- When sharpening your knife on a stone, angle the blade so the back is a penny’s thickness off the stone.
- The ‘best’ stew if made from the shin, or the tail. These are very well worked muscles, so they have lots of collagen, which, after a long stew will taste amazing.
- Grass-fed beef has more good omega-3 fats, grain feed has more omega-6 fats (less good). For the scientists: the ‘3’ and ‘6’ represent where the carbon-carbon double bond is.
Today was beef day. We learnt the many cuts of beef and best way of cooking them. Basically the muscles that get used most (legs, rump, shoulder) have more collagen and are best braised or stewed (“low and slow”), and the less used muscles are more tender and are better suited for dry cooking (grilling, sautéing, broil, etc..). We also learned about beef aging. I always think that dry aged beef looks a bit scary. Aged beef is refrigerated for a month, during which the enzymes can tenderize the proteins, and some water evaporates to concentrate the flavor. A yucky outside forms which has to be trimmed away. Because it’s lighter and trimmed, it costs a lot more but apparently tastes much better. I’m going to try some this weekend.
Today we prepared the classic grilled strip steak. A quick brush and oil of the grill, then quadrillage (grilling at the 10 o’clock position for 1min, then 2 o’clock, flip, 7 o’clock, 5 o’clock). BAM – you have a perfectly cross-scored steak. Then into the oven for 6 minutes, rest at least 8 minutes, top with a beurre d’eshalote (butter, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, s&p), a quick reheat, and onto the plate with 2-step fried fries. That was just the appetizer!
Then we made filet mignon with a Bordelaise sauce. I’m learning that cooking is really about intensifying the flavor, and then intensifying the flavor again, and then again! The bordelaise sauce is an example of this. We started with a red wine, shallot, peppercorn, thyme, bay leaf sauce, and reduced it. Then we added veal stock, which we had reduced by half. The sauce tasted peppery up till now. Then the coup-de-grace. Chef V taught us how to de-marrow a bone, degorge it (reduce and concentrate it with salt water), and then we added this with a bit of lemon to the final sauce. The taste changed dramatically and amazingly. We added a little butter as well (not sure if we were supposed to). The filets were tied with string, briefly sautéed, then butter basted (see pic at the top), then in the oven for 4 mins, on the plate, and covered with sauce. The sauce was sooo good, that anything would have tasted good under it, but with filet mignon…..well…c’mon….how do you think it tasted?
Bone marrow for for the sauce
If this wasn’t rich enough, Chef V brings out a paté she made with our left over duck livers from yesterday. Joe said this was the best thing he had tasted in the class so far. Somewhere during all this craziness, Chef Joe gave an impromptu lesson on knife sharpening on a stone with a few good tips. I’m off to buy a “king stone”.
The afternoon was the calm after the storm where Chef Bauer took us through what to learn for Friday’s Servsafe test. I needed a few cups of coffee to get through this. Bread rolls at the bread class, and off to enjoy the left-over paté.
ps: I thought “black & blue” was a circuit party, but it’s how you prepare steak: slightly cooked on the outside, raw on the inside.