2/11/2010

Fajita Steak Perfection

I love few things the way I love me some good ol' beef. Sorry to the vegetarians; I respect your decision, and, while our family tries to eat small amounts meat for various reasons (cost and environmental conscience topping the list), we are delighted carnivores.

So, today's food tip- perfect steak, namely for fajitas. Yum, yum, yum.

First, start with a good cut of beef. This one is grass fed, no antibiotics, high quality angus beef. You might think, "No way. My family cannot afford that." Guess what? You might be able to better than you think! This pre-seasoned flank steak was 1.24 pounds, and while it did cost $7, I have been eating it for 5 full days. You'll see the recipe tomorrow, but I stretched the meat with lots of good veggies, also on sale, making for an affordable and delicious week for me. In addition to quality, if you are making fajitas you want something like flank steak or skirt steak; note the uniform size and shape in the pictures below. This just works so much better than random super cheap little packages of odds and ends pieces of meat in the beef section.


Next, you simply must have a grill pan. If not, using an outdoor barbecue works, too. In early February the last thing I want to do is go outside, so a grill pan has changed my life. My dream kitchen has an indoor grill, but not all dreams come true. A $40 grill pan is an easy shortcut! I love mine and use it dozens of times in the months of October to February, sometimes even in the summer if it's raining or particularly late.

So, preheat the grill pan on high. Be sure it's completely heated, evaporating a drop of water on contact. You want it sizzling! Another tip is to get your meat out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cook; bringing it closer to room temperature makes it cook better.



Put the meat on the hot pan; DO NOT TOUCH IT! Cook for four minutes for rare to medium rare, five to six minutes per side for well done, carefully flip,and cook for four more minutes. Again, other than the flip, don't touch it. Remove the meat from the hot pan and set it on a cutting board. Now, once again, you guessed it- don't touch it! Let it rest- I allowed 10 full minutes. The juices redistribute throughout the meat, so that when you cut it more juice- also known as tasty goodness, making for moist and tender steak- stays in the meat and doesn't just run out all over your cutting board.

Once it's done resting, you are free to finally cut the meat! I cooked mine to rare because I knew I'd be reheating it in the microwave all week and didn't want it overcooked then. If you plan to eat yours all in one family meal then you can decide if you should cook it longer initially. I ate a couple bites at this level of rare and man, it was tender, moist, delicious, and bursting with flavor. It literally melted in my mouth!

I will now cruelly post the picture, so your mouth can water; go ahead and look at the high resolution version if you enjoy torture. Make it for yourself and tell me if it was as good for you as it was for me!


Now, if you haven't already put some pieces together, this week started with a good sharp knife, then using that knife for fabulous onions and bell peppers. Next came lovely, uniform mushroom pieces and today was perfect fajita steak. You may think you have figured it out, but trust me- tomorrow's food week finale recipe will surprise you, and believe me, friend, it's so incredibly worth it! Don't miss out!

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