A few weeks ago I went to the store and bought a 12″ cast iron skillet because I was tired of only being able to do tiny, 9″ cornbreads. As a bonus in addition to life-sized cornbread rounds, this also gives me enough surface area to do steaks!
Here’s how I did a steak a couple of weeks ago.
Step one was to make a salad ahead of time. I figured to do an easy cucumber and tomato salad, so I sliced the aforementioned components, added a touch of salt to the tomatoes, layered them in a dish, and poured Italian dressing on them. Easy peasy! Pop it in the fridge and let it sit until everything else is done.
Also ahead of time, I cooked a pot of brown rice because I have a veggie-saurus who won’t eat meat, so I made enough of the creole sauce that I could put some on the steak and he could have some over rice for a really boring meal while he watched the rest of us eat steak!
A Creole is a thick, tomato-based gravy, seasoned with peppers, onions, and celery (usually cut in large chunks), and usually featuring shrimp or crawfish tails. I didn’t want to pay the premium price for seafood, so I did a Mushroom Creole.
(n.b. If you are trying to recreate this recipe, be warned! Everything in Cajun cooking is always ‘to taste.’ You will see very few specific measurements here or in any of my cooking.)
I started with six fresh frozen tomatoes, microwaved them about a minute so that I could cut them, quartered them, and threw them into the pot with some olive oil and some Tony’s seasoning. When they started to cook to pieces, I added the frozen seasoning mix.
Around here this frozen seasoning mix is informally called, “Trinity,” referring to the onion, bell pepper, and celery that is the basis of almost every recipe. The seasoning mix already had bell pepper in it, but I like big chunky chunks of pepper in my Creole sauce, so I cut up an extra pepper. All that went into the pot with another dash or two of Tony’s and some garlic.
After the tomatoes and seasoning mix had cooked down to the point that the onions were starting to become translucent, I added the mushrooms and a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up. Wheat flour makes a better texture for sauces, but we try to avoid the gluten so cornstarch works okay.
Once I had that Creole assembled and simmering I could move on to the main event!
I bought a thick steak with decent marbling and a layer of fat on one side. I don’t even remember what cut it was – just that it was thick, marbled, and inexpensive. I think I paid about $8.
The Food Channel steak-cooking gurus say that the way to do a steak is let it sit out till it is about room temp, then salt and pepper it and drop it into a hot cast iron skillet with some butter, olive oil, and rosemary – and don’t touch it!
Let it sit where it lands for 4-5 minutes, and when it is ready to be turned, it will actually let go of the skillet. I sizzled this steak medium-high for 5 minutes on each side, scooping some of the rosemary butter back over it every so often.
Then, once you’ve cooked every facet of the cut of meat, remove it to a plate and let it sit for a while before cutting it.
I cut it into slices across the grain and plated 3-4 of the slices with a scoop of the creole on top and the cucumbers and tomatoes on the side. In hindsight, I think the salad needed some red onion, and it would have probably kicked the sauce clean over the top if I’d added a spoon of crab boil to the creole, but I didn’t have any on hand.
But the steak! I think this was the best steak I’ve ever done!