New toy! Good steak, too.
April 8, 2015
Regular readers may recall that back some while ago, I bought a sous vide immersion circulator and delved into the world of sous vide cookery.
(If you’re not a regular reader, sous vide cooking is cooking food vacuum-sealed in plastic, in a water bath heated to a relatively t emperature for a relatively long period of time. It enables you to get a meltingly tender piece of steak, for instance, while keeping it a lovely medium rare, or to cook a tough cut for hours and hours until it is unbelievably tender).
Well, said circulator died; its temperature control would no longer work. I turned it over to my resident handyperson, aka SonInLaw 2, with instructions to take it apart and if he couldn’t fix it, chunk it. It got chunked. And the company that made it had gone out of business, and I just never replaced it.
So my Memphis guinea pig had meanwhile gotten himself a circulator from a different maker, and when he learned mine had passed on, he offered to get me one for my combination birthday-Christmas present. And I allowed that sounded like a pretty good idea.
He delivered it last weekend, with the proviso that I had to use it to cook something for him. His visit coincided with decent weather, so I decided to cook steaks.
I took a couple of rib-eyes out of the freezer, thawed them, sprinkled them liberally with “What’s This?” seasoning, which is made in scenic Newport, Arkansas and is a really good all-round grilled meat seasoning. I sealed them up in a couple of vac bags, and into the water bath they went.
The circulator, an Anova Precision Cooker, is significantly larger, and more heavy-duty, than my old SideKic. It also has a handy clamp that lets you fasten it on to the side of a pot or container. I used my big shrimp pot, but it would also work in a large plastic tub or in a cooler if you were doing a bigger piece of meat.
I burbled those steaks for about four hours at 125 degrees, the temp for rare. I took them out, still in their packages, and waited until I got ready for them. That resulted in them cooling to room temp. Then I threw them on a hot grill for about three minutes on a side, to get a good sear on them and a touch of smoky flavoring.
Honey. These were some Sweet Baby Jesus steaks. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em need to get you one of these. It’s the finest thing that ever happened to a steak.
You also need to order you some What’s This seasoning. I use the original the most, but the no-salt is good, too.
I’m not getting paid to promote either one of them, although if enough of you order and say you saw it on my blog, maybe I can remedy that in the future.
Anyway, the steaks were sublime, and I tried a new experiment in potatoes. I thought I had done everything there was to do to a potato, but I had not ever made Hasselback potatoes. Be assured I will make them again.
To make Hasselback potatoes, first you need a set of el cheapo chopsticks from the Chinese carryout place.
Stay with me, here.
Then you get you some Yukon Gold or russet potatoes. They need to be as uniform as possible. Wash ’em, and put them on your cutting board — no need to peel, but I guess you could if you’re squicky about potato peels. Pull your little set of chopsticks apart and put one on either side of a potato. Now take your sharpest knife, and cut little parallel slices crosswise down the entire length of the potato; the chopsticks keep you from cutting all the way through.
The slices fan out sort of like the pages in a new hardback book do. Then you take some melted butter and drizzle over the potato, being sure it gets down in and amongst the slices, and sprinkle a little salt and pepper, and then into the oven and bake.
They don’t have to bake as long as a regular potato, but count on 30 minutes for a small to medium potato, 45 for a larger one; I think I baked mine on about 350, but temp isn’t critical. When you take them out, brush on a bit more melted butter, and sprinkle some grated Parmigiano.
This is a fine, fine thing to do to a potato. First, it looks cool, and like you went to a lot of trouble, when really, thanks to your friendly chopsticks, it’s not that big a deal to prep. It comes out with slices that are sort of crispy-chewy, browned around the edges, all with a taste of butter and seasoning. What’s not to like?
So there you go. Get you a circulator, and get you some cheapo chopsticks, and you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have at it this grilling season.