I often get asked, “how do you make the perfect steak?”
As a proudly South African girl, my first answer is on the grill with an open flame. There is something primal about it that ignites my inner pyromaniac, plus it’s really wonderful cooking on an open flame out in the elements. However, this isn’t always achievable. Add in a howling south easter and that little open flame meant to char a chop can turn into a roaring mountain blaze faster than you can put down the braai tongs. In fact more often than not, in simpler terms, it’s just too much hassle to set up a fire and wait for it to be the correct temperature to grill a single steak. So then what?
Enter Risoli and their marvelous grill pan! Imported from Italy and an absolute essential in the kitchen.
The best part of the design is that it is non-stick. I love this because a cast iron grill can be such a pain to clean and with the Risoli it is quick and easy! You can focus your energy on cooking rather than cleaning which is right up my alley.
Nobody likes to wash dishes.
A grill pan is an essential in the kitchen because it actually goes so much further than just grilling a steak. Essentially you are cooking without added fat making it a healthier cooking method.
You can grill vegetables as well as meat and my personal favorite, corn.
I have a habit of trying to incorporate that little yellow ‘mielie’ into as many dishes as I can.
The possibilities are endless, think grilled corn salsa, marinated grilled vegetable salads and of course, chorizo tapas and perfect meat options!
So, without further adieu - let’s get down to basics. Here are a few tips that I believe will make your life easier in the kitchen:
Lesson Number 1.
The biggest mistake people make is to put oil into a grill pan.
This is a big no-no because all you are going to do is smoke out your house. Unless your house is already on fire from that earlier braai attempt in the South Easter – nobody enjoys choking on the thick smoke billowing from an oiled grill pan.
The pan is designed to work with little to no oil. When grilling your steak all you need to do is lightly brush the meat. Lightly. That’s it. If you add more oil it will just cause a mess.
So lesson no 1, oil the meat - not the pan.
Lesson Number 2.
The second biggest tip is to cook one side and then another. Don’t toss and turn your piece of meat. What I mean is; lightly oil your meat, bring your pan to a high heat and then lay your meat down. The main thing you are looking for is a sizzle! It is all about the sizzle. Once the meat is in the pan, leave it face down for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes turn your meat over and grill for another 3 minutes. You will see the grill marks showing up nicely. Cooking time can vary based on the thickness of your steak as well as how you would like your steak done. I personally only like medium rare to medium. So my cook time on a based on a 2cm thick steak, 3 minutes a side.
Aside from the taste benefit of minimizing the manhandling of your meat – it leaves your steak with a perfect aesthetic; marks on meat that looks more like a grill pan and less like you prepared your meat on chicken coop wire.
I’m a stickler for the details.
Season your meat after grilling with a basic salt and pepper herb mix.
If your meat is marinated then you won’t need to oil your meat. Just let excess marinade drip off before grilling the meat.
Lesson Number 3.
Let sleeping meat lie…
Allow for rest time on your meat. You want to be able to rest your meat for 5-10 minutes.
Remove it from the pan (heat) and put it on a chopping board.
Cover it with foil to allow the steak to keep warm.
Resting the meat means it won’t end up in a bloody pool on the plate! (Unless you like that sort of thing...no judgment…okay, maybe a little Hannibal)
Once rested, slice and serve with a simple chimichurri sauce or cracked salt. See recipe below ...