Hi guys. I'm a rookie aspiring steak chef! I would like to be able to properly cook quality steak by pan searing in a cast iron pan. Can you guys recommend a quality cast iron pan at a good price? I'm looking at preparing 4-5 steaks at a time. Thanks in advance.
Cast iron pan recommendations
ChefTalk.com Top Picks
Bought cast iron fajita pans specifically to address finishing multiple steaks. The pans work great, come with a wooden trivit and were cheap, think I paid less than $7/ea.
1. ALWAYS sear first
2. Finish either in the oven or on the stove top
3. LET IT REST we have used herb infused clarified butter bath.
Cast Iron recommendation would be Wagner or Lodge, Lodge is much more cost effective
(product review here http://www.cheftalk.com/products/lodge-logic-10-1-4-inch-pre-seasoned-skillet)
Quote:What is the ratio/amount (cups, table or teaspoon, etc) of butter, salt, and pepper I should use to pan sear or season a steak? Thanks!
May be a subject for a new topic, opinions and experience are all over the place
Immediately after salting the salt rests on the surface of the meat, undissolved. All the steak's juices are still inside the muscle fibers. Searing at this stage results in a clean, hard sear.
• Within 3 or 4 minutes the salt, through the process of osmosis, will begin to draw out liquid from the beef. This liquid beads up on the surface of the meat. Try to sear at this point and you waste valuable heat energy simply evaporating this large amount of pooled liquid. Your pan temperature drops, your sear is not as hard, and crust development and flavor-building Maillard browning reactions are inhibited.
• Starting at around 10 to 15 minutes, the brine formed by the salt dissolving in the meat's juices will begin to break down the muscle structure of the beef, causing it to become much more absorptive. The brine begins to slowly work its way back into the meat.
• By the end of 40 minutes, most of the liquid has been reabsorbed into the meat. A small degree of evaporation has also occurred, causing the meat to be ever so slightly more concentrated in flavor.
Not only that, but I found that even after the liquid has been reabsorbed, it doesn't stop there. As the meat continues to rest past 40 minutes, the salt and brine will slowly work their way deeper and deeper into the muscle structure, giving you built-in seasoning beyond just the outer surface you'd get from cooking right after salting or salting the skillet.
Indeed, the absolute best steak I had was one that I had salted on both sides then allowed to rest on a rack overnight in the refrigerator uncovered. It appears to dry out slightly, but it's only superficial—the amount of drying that occurs from an overnight rest (about 5% moisture loss) is negligible compared to the amount of moisture driven off during cooking anyway (upwards of 20%, even more in the hard-seared edges). As the salt makes its way back into the meat, you'll probably also notice that it becomes a deeper color. That's because the dissolved proteins scatter light differently than they did when they were still whole.
Moral of the story: If you've got the time, salt your meat for at least 40 minutes and up to overnight before cooking. If you haven't got 40 minutes, it's better to season immediately before cooking.
Cooking the steak anywhere between three and 40 minutes after salting is the worst way to do it.
IME&O make the time to (coarse sea) salt the steak for @ least 30 minutes before pan searing.
Personally am NOT a fan of leaving steak out to come to room temp as we always finish in the oven. The sear is a step in the cooking process, not the entire process. Have found this especially true for thinner cuts and steaks, think skirt or hanger.
The correct amount of salt is proportional to the thickness of your steak. Don't know of any "set" rule for the correct amount salt.
Likewise with pepper, have seasoned before, during and after the cooking process, depends on the meal and specific tastes. Would recommend @ least a light "peppering" before cooking as a general rule of thumb.
Butter, well if your cooking for a non Kosher (Kosher?,substitute "Schmaltz" ) crowd we love to rest the meat in clarified butter to cover @ around 120-140F. Remember if your cooking a lot of steak all @ once AND you bath them all @ once the butter temp will rise accordingly. In this case found it best to butter baste, heavily on a tray and flip after 5 minutes.
You can flavor the butter as you wish. We favor a combo that "includes" coarse ground tellicherry, fresh rosemary, thyyme and fennel pollen in cheese cloth.