Saving a supermarket steak: an unconventional leap of faith

I get that not everyone is as scatterbrain as I am and most of you won’t end up at the butchers without a wallet. But, when you have to satisfy a steak craving, a supermarket steak would have to do (thanks, Apple Pay, both for making me forget the wallet and saving the day). But how to turn that sad, vac-packed thing into something that resembles something you’d really like to eat? It takes some serious belief in Cook’s Illustrated and a leap of faith to get there (credit where credit’s due for this amazing tip).

Supermarket sweep assembled!

First, obviously try and buy as nice a steak as you can get. You’ll also need corn flour, salt, a freezer and something to fry with (I like ghee because I like frying my steak with butter and ghee doesn’t burn like butter does). It works better if you pat the steak dry first.
Mix a dessert spoon full of corn flour and some salt (about ½ teaspoon) together (per steak) and smear it over the steak. I personally just do it on the tray it comes in as it saves cleaning up. Stick it open face in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes (And no, I’m not going to show you the sorry state of my freezer!). The flour mixture and freezer combo draws the water out and basically we are doing a super-speeded up dry age process.

Poor steak is all floured up and ready to go in the freezer

Heat your oil up in a pan (my grill pan sticks terribly so I prefer my fry pan, but originally this is a grill recipe, so I’m confident you could use a grill pan if you want to get the grill marks).

Take the steak out of the freezer (if like me, you are still being a scatterbrain and didn’t pat dry at the beginning and you have corn flour sludge at this stage, pat it dry with a kitchen towel now) and dump it on the sizzling hot pan (shimmering oil stage). This recipe works especially well if like me, you like a rare steak. The super-cold steak means that you will get a good crust without the inside overcooking- and you get a thinner brown bit as well. Cook, rest meat and serve as usual.

Steak saved.

Et voila! The end results, urm, slightly overcooked because I forgot about it.

P.S. If you haven’t encountered Cook’s Illustrated yet, it’s an awesome, nerdy quarterly cooking magazine by the America’ Test Kitchen where each recipe is prefaced with the process of testing the recipe and why the recipe is what it is.

P.P.S. Don’t step away from the steak while it cooks and forget about it. Coz it will still overcook and you’d be sad (famous last words for it making a good non-overcooked steak).

P.P.P.S. Don’t try and live blog how to cook a recipe. It evidently ends in tears.  Also, it doesn’t end up as a live blog anyways after you edited the text and put in pictures.  Oh, and Reidel “O” glasses are a fantastic investment because who wouldn’t want to drink supermarket plonk out of machine washable, yet proper wine glasses?

P.P.P.P.S. Just in case you’re interested, I served the salad with my current favorite salad dressing, a sesame/yuzu dressing from the Japan center. Honestly, I just wanted to eat the salad dressing and the whole thing just snowballed in my head to steak salad and write about it while I cooked. Because this recipe kinda changed my life.

That’s enough p.s.s for now.

Check out more recipes and tips on our recipes page!




6 Comments Add yours

  1. yeegan says:

    So, is medium rare the way to go?


    1. Daniel says:

      It’s definitely my favourite way to eat steak!


    2. vixvapour says:

      Surely anything before medium well is in good taste?


      1. yeegan says:

        I agree. Yours looks spot on. I shall try your method next time I cook steak


      2. vixvapour says:

        Awww, thanks! 🙂 I like this method because it produces something a little similar to sous vide/ very high heat searing in my lo tech kitchen, in that you actually get some crust and texture without completely killing the steak.


      3. yeegan says:

        I’m very lucky to have a sous vide water bath at home, so maybe I’ll have a compare steak cooking day


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