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Grilled Delmonico with Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach


After about 3 weeks of kitchen hiatus, it feels so good to be back to cooking again.

I busted out my grill pan — which had been languishing in the back of my cabinets for years. Really years.

Why haven’t I used it? I don’t know. It was kind of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of thing. Pretty ironic, actually, given all the meat in my freezer.

But now that it is out, I am putting it to good use!

Delmonico steaks are also known as boneless rib-eye steaks. The cut famously refers to Delmonico’s Restaurant in NYC, where the cut originated around 1830 as the house steak. In terms of tenderness, it is like a filet mignon, however a proper Delmonico is more marbled, and juicier as a result.

My grill pan has allowed me to get back in touch with grill marks, or cross-hatching.

Cross-hatching, also fancily know as quadrillage, is created by positioning your steak on the grill at roughly the 10 o’clock position, and then rotating it to the 2 o’clock position after about one or two minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak.

To help visualize this, here is the fabulous David Leite from Leite’s Culinaria. Click here for the video.

Some great tips for successful steak + how to use a stove top grill pan:

1. Take your meat out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to cook it. You want the steak to come up to room temperature before grilling so that it cooks evenly. This doesn’t mean that your steak should be warm; it should be cool to touch, but not fridge temperature.

2. Season your steaks well. Salt makes flavor pop.

3. Get the grill hot, man. Once the meat is on the grill, you can turn down the heat if it seems like it is cooking too fast.

Perhaps one reason why I stopped using my grill pan was that every time that I cooked on it, my fire alarm went off and the apartment was filled with smoke. Recently, I realized that I just never learned how to use it properly. Now, it hardly makes any mess and a bare minimum of smoke, even when brushed with olive oil. And it still tastes like grilled food. Not outdoor grilled food, but I accept the limitations of a grill pan.

The keys to not simulating a house fire? Make sure your meat is not fridge temperature when you put it on the grill. Brush your cast-iron pan (they shouldn’t even sell non-stick grill pans; once cast-iron is properly seasoned, it is effectively non-stick) lightly with oil. Too much oil = too much burning oil. Heat your pan until it is hot. Once the pan starts to smoke, put your meat on. I never leave the temperature as high as it was to heat the pan in the first place. I generally lower the heat to medium, particularly for thicker cuts because I want the interior to cook before the outside burns. That was the biggest lesson that I learned about using a stove-top grill pan: it shouldn’t be smokin’ hot for the entire duration of cooking. For more tips, click here.

4. Resist the urge to mess with the steak once it’s on the grill before it is ready to turn. You can monitor the doneness by touching the top of the steak with your finger or a pair of tongs. You don’t actually need a thermometer to do this. Make a really tight fist. Now with your other hand poke the fleshy part of your fist between your index finger and your thumb. That bouncy hard resistance that you feel is what a super well-done steak would feel like if you poked it. Open your hand and make a super loose fist. Touch the same part. That’s what really, really rare feels like. Now, aim for somewhere in-between.

5. Let it rest a little bit before serving.

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5 Comments

  1. I don’t know what I would do with myself after three weeks off from cooking! This steak looks seriously perfect. I never really bother with the crosshatching at home but this makes me really want to pay a little more attention to the aesthetics next time! Is there any reason flavor-wise to do it? More char? I wonder if there’s more to it than I’m giving it credit for?

    • Cooking a steak on a grill pan adds some char, but what is missing is that terrific smokiness that you get from using an outdoor grill 😦

      Sigh. One day!

      As for a link between cross-hatching and flavor, I think it’s probably mostly aesthetics! Now that the grill pan is out, though, I think it’s time to start experimenting with panini!

  2. Pingback: Backwards, extra-rep “Cindy” | CrossFit NYC

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