Thursday, January 22, 2015

T-Bone Steak with Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac

     T-Bone Steak And Porterhouse Steak
     T-Bone is the most popular beef steak.  One side of the bone has the best of the sirloin strip section and a small piece of beef tenderloin is attached to the other side.
     Many food writers say that there is little difference between a T-Bone Steak and a Porterhouse Steak, but this is incorrect.  The short loin section is where T-Bone Steaks are cut from.  The hind end of the short loin section is where Porterhouse Steaks are cut from, because the tenderloin starts to become thicker.  One might say that the tenderloin piece on a T-Bone Steak is the tenderloin tips or medaillon section.  The tenderloin piece on a Porterhouse is the filet mignon section.

     A porterhouse steak has a much larger piece of tenderloin.  The minimum width of the tenderloin on a Porterhouse by chef's standards is 2" to 2 1/2" of filet mignon attached to the bone.  A T-Bone steak usually has less than 2 inches of tenderloin attached to the bone.
     The minimal thickness of the filet piece on a tenderloin should be a minimum of 1" to 1 1/2".  This means that a real porterhouse steak is cut much thicker than an average T-Bone Steak.  There actually is no minimal thickness standard for a T-Bone Steak.    
     Some T-Bone Steaks only have a sliver of tenderloin and they are considered to be second choice by many critics.  The short loin steak side is much bigger and juicier when there is a minimal amount of tenderloin on a T-Bone Steak.
     If the tenderloin piece is a priority, then shop for a Porterhouse Steak instead of a T-Bone Steak!  It is the Strip Loin side of the T-Bone that steak enthusiasts really relish the thought of biting into!  

     The T-Bone in the pictures had a healthy piece of tenderloin, not including the fat and the strip loin side was picture perfect with some some fat marbling in the grain of the meat.  Fat marbling is important for a T-Bone Steak.  The USDA beef grading system determines how much marbling will appear on a steak.

     USDA Beef Grades
     USDA Prime Grade Beef comes from younger healthy cattle that have the highest amount of fat marbling.  USDA Prime Grade Beef does command a price, because only 2% of all beef is graded as being Prime.  USDA Prime Grade Beef is usually only sold at butcher shops and not at grocery stores.  A USDA Prime Grade Beef T-Bone Steak is the best quality that money can buy!

     USDA Choice Grade Beef is the second best grade of beef.  Healthy older cattle qualify as USDA Choice Grade Beef and the meat can taste a little stronger than USDA Prime Grade Beef.  Many steak lovers do prefer prefer USDA Choice Grade Beef for this reason.
    On the average, the USDA Choice Grade Beef fat marbling is much less than what is found in USDA Prime Grade Beef.  There are exceptions to the rule.  Sometimes the fat marbling can be rich.
     USDA Choice Grade Beef is the highest grade that most grocery stores sell.  USDA Choice Grade beef is about half the price of USDA Prime Grade Beef, so it is a good option.

     USDA Select Grade Beef is the lowest quality of beef that is sold in public food markets.  There is almost no fat marbling and the meat tends to be tough.  USDA Select Grade Beef is usually sold at bargain bin style grocery stores and at cheap restaurants or chain restaurants.  This grade of beef should only be purchased if the budget is a concern.

    There are a few USDA industrial and institutional grades of beef.  These beef grades are usually not sold publicly as raw meat, but they are sold as canned or pre-fab frozen food products.

     The Fat Cap
     The outer layer of fat on a steak is called the Fat Cap.  A 1/4" to 3/8" thick layer of fat around the outside of the T-Bone is best.  If the butcher cut the fat thick, then trim it down to less than 1/2".  The sputtering fat from the Fat Cap adds great favor to a steak!  Trimming the fat cap completely off is usually only done for certain sautéed boneless steak recipes.  

     Today's Entrée Accompaniments   
     I used a nice technique to roast the garlic.  Instead of roasting a whole head of garlic, I roasted peeled cloves of garlic in a small covered pan.  Roasting garlic this way saves a lot of mess.  I learned this easy technique from an Austrian garde manger chef many years ago.
     Since an oven is used to roast the garlic, it is a good choice to make a roasted vegetable and potato for this recipe while the oven is hot.  Potato a la Wendy was popular in restaurants many years ago and is is nearly a forgotten relic of the past.  I learned to make potato a la Wendy from an Italian chef in Philadelphia.  I have seen chefs cook potato a la Wendy without knowing that there actually was a name for this style of potato.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 steak entrée!
     Roasted Garlic Paste:
     Step 1:  Brush a small roasting pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Add 7 peeled garlic cloves.
     Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil.
     Place the pan in a 325º oven.
     Shake the pan once every 5 minutes, so the garlic does not scorch.
     After about 15 to 20 minutes, the garlic should become a light brown roasted color.
     Step 2:  Place the roasted garlic cloves into a small fine mesh strainer.
     Use a spoon to press the roasted garlic through the strainer into a small ramekin.  Scrape any mashed roasted garlic off of the bottom of the strainer and place it in a small ramekin.
     Set the roasted garlic paste aside.
     Potato a la Wendy:
     Step 1:  Peel a russet potato and cut it in half lengthwise.
     Cut several vertical finger slices along one side of the potato, so the the fingers are cut no more than 2/3 through the width the potato.  About 1/3 of the potato should be uncut, so the fingers are attached after roasting.
     Step 2:  Brush a baking pan with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the potato on the pan and brush the potato with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Bake in a 350º oven, till the potato becomes fully cooked.
     Keep the Potato a la Wendy warm on a stove top.
     Sweet Pea Stuffed Tomato with White Truffle Oil:
     The tomato can be peeled, or the skin can be left on.  
     Step 1:  Minimally trim the the core where the tomato was attached to the stem.
     Place the tomato on a cutting board with the core side facing down.
     Vertically cut a circle through the top, halfway into the tomato.
     Use a spoon to remove the round tomato cap.
     Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp.
     Press the remaining tomato meat inside the tomato with a spoon to form a small bowl shape.
     Step 2:  Fill the tomato with blanched or frozen sweet peas.
     Drizzle a few drops of white truffle oil on the peas.
     Drizzle a few drops of melted unsalted butter on the peas.
     Season with sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Brush a small baking pan with vegetable oil.
     Set the stuffed tomato on the baking pan.
     Bake in a 350" oven, till the peas and tomato become tender.
     Keep the stuffed tomato warm on a stove top.
     Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac: 
     This sauce is made the same way as a beurre blanc.  The chilled butter must be whisked into the sauce over low heat or in a pot that is till hot after being removed from the heat.  
     The butter sauce can be kept warm in a ceramic cup on the stove top off of the heat, but it must be stirred occasionally, so the butter emulsion does not separate.  If the butter sauce becomes cool, then it will solidify and it will be difficult to bring it back to an emulsified state when it is reheated.
     Plugra butter is European style butter.  It contains almost no water and it tastes very rich.  Unsalted plugra is best for making beurre blanc.
     Step 1:  Cut 2 ounces of unsalted butter into teaspoon size pieces and keep it chilled till later in the recipe.
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 cup of cognac.
     Add the reserved roasted garlic paste.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Simmer and reduce, till the the sauce becomes a thin syrup consistency.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of cream.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium thin sauce consistency.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Immediately add the chilled unsalted butter pieces, one at a time, while constantly whisking.  This must be done while the pot is still hot.  Wait for the butter pat to partially melt and emulsify, before adding the next few butter pats.  If the pot cools too quickly, then hold the pot over very low heat, while whisking.
     Whisk till the butter is thoroughly combined and emulsified.  The sauce should be silky smooth.
     Step 5:  Immediately place the butter sauce in a ceramic cup, before the emulsion overheats and breaks.
     Keep the butter sauce warm in a low temperature bain marie (about 120º F) on a stove top and stir it occasionally.
     T-Bone Steak: 
     The steak can also be broiled if there is no chargrill.
     A 16 to 20 ounce T-Bone Steak is considered to be one portion! 
     Step 1:  Lightly brush the T-Bone Steak with melted unsalted butter.
     Season the steak with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle or chargrill to medium/medium high heat.
     Grill the steak in both sides twice.  Try to flip the steak so cross-check grill marks appear, so the steak looks nice!
     *If the steak is very thick, then finish cooking the steak under a broiler or in a 450º oven, till it is cooked to your desired temperature.  This way excessive charring does not occur.
     Cook the steak to the desired finish temperature.  (The T-Bone in the pictures was cooked rare!)
     Step 3:  Set the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and allow it to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
     T-Bone Steak with Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac: 
     Usually the filet side of a T-Bone Steak is plated farthest from the front of the plate, unless the filet side is rather big. 
     Usually a sauce for a T-Bone Steak is served in a gooseneck ramekin on the side.   
     Place the T-Bone steak on a plate.
     Place the sweet pea stuffed tomato with truffle oil on the plate.
     Use a spatula to set the potato a la Wendy on the plate.
     Bend the potato, so the "finger slices" open up and separate.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.
     Spoon the roasted garlic beurre cognac sauce over the middle of the steak and onto the plate.
     Sprinkle a pinch of chopped Italian parsley over the sauce.
     Roasted Garlic Beurre Cognac compliments the flavor of a good T-Bone Steak! 

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