How do you reheat steak without cooking it further?

If you’re like me, having left over steak leaves a lot to be desired. If you cooked it perfectly the first time, then any further cooking will turn it into charcoal or thereabouts. If you try pan frying but that just turns even the best medium-rare steak into well done in seconds, especially if you slice it.

Here are two methods I’ve used to achieve the above and stopped me from ruining a great steak the next day:

  1. IF THE STEAK WAS KEPT IN THE REFRIGERATOR  Place the leftover steak in a freezer seal plastic bag and immerse it in a pot of boiling water. After 20 minutes or so, the steak is warm enough to eat and the temperature hasn’t risen enough to change the “state” of the steak as it was originally cooked. The only problem with this method is that you recognize you’re not cooking to 160 degrees and so risk that some bacterial matter may have been introduced during the refrigeration stage.
  2. IF THE STEAK WAS FROZEN (OR REFRIGERATED OVERNIGHT) Place leftover steak in about 1/8 inch of warm water inside a slow cooker (preferably a small one) and turn the dial to “warm”. After about 1/2 hr, the steak is heated through and hasn’t changed it’s “state”. If you’re concerned about bacteria, dial it to low and the steak will cook slightly further (turning a medium rare into a medium, etc.), but you’ll still have a decent-tasting steak that has likely reached close to 160 degrees.

I find that whenever I reheat a steak, it loses a little of its original flavour, so I usually serve with a tomato/onion/feta salsa, or at the very least, a little A1 or HP sauce on the side. Even a little heated gravy or aus jus poured over the steak will not only add flavour but keep the warmth in.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

 

 

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Roasted Sausages & Grapes

 

This is actually not a gourmet dish but rather a staple, comfort food example from Tuscany.  Popular at grape harvest, Italians use grapes right from the vineyard. It has a nice balance of richness with sweetness that is pulled together by balsamic vinegar.

My kids loved this dish when I discovered it about 25 years ago and it continues to be a simple go-to for my wife and I, along with a great Tuscan wine. The best way to enjoy this dish is to ensure each forkful has a grape, a slice of sausage, and a dollop of mashed potatoes. When it hits your taste buds for the first time, it is truly astonishing!

INGREDIENTS

2 sausages per serving (mild or hot Italian, honey garlic, English banger). My preference is mild Italian because the flavor mix is tremendous and the meat doesn’t overpower the grape. Serve one of two types in each serving; i.e: one mild and one banger on a plate.

3 tbsn unsalted butter
6 cups red or green seedless grapes, stemmed (I prefer red for rich flavor)
4 tbsn balsamic vinegar

METHOD

  1. reheat oven to 500 degrees. In a large pan, cover sausages with water and parboil for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat.
  2. Melt butter in large, roasting pan. Add grapes and toss to coat. With tongs, transfer teh sausages to the roasting pan and push them into the grapes so the sausages don’t brown too quickly
  3. Roast, turning the sausages once, for 25 minutes or until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned.
  4. With a slotted spoon, bring sausages and grapes to a heated serving platter
  5. Place the roasting pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom the the pan. Allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy.
  6. Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a good Tuscan wine.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

 

Nicoise Salade

Top chefs everywhere argue what constitutes an “official Nicoise” salad. Lyonnaise Chefs insist it is only fresh ingredients with no fish or vegetables. Chefs from other French regions, as well as Western afficionado’s, beg to differ, saying that potatoes and haricots verts (green beans) are integral to the original recipe. Others say there must be tuna (preferably cooked but canned in oil can be used as a replacement without bastardizing authenticity). And hard boiled eggs are a must… to most.

Personally, I like the potatoes, could lose the green beans, and not as much tuna as suggested in most recipes. And the herbs are fresh, not dried; mine come right from the back yard. Here’s the version I had at Cafe Boloud, a fine French restaurant in Toronto, and repeated the next day at home (serves 4-6):

INGREDIENTS for VINAIGRETTE

2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1 tspn Dijon mustard (old style)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS for SALAD

2 grilled tuna steaks (8oz each), or 1 can tuna (most recipes call for 2-3)
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise (most recipes call for 6. In a pinch, I’ll use pickled eggs)
1/2 lbs small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes (most recipes call for 1 and 1/4 lbs but I find the extra starch spoils the melding flavours)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (I grow Arugula in my garden and sometimes substitute for a more peppery flavour)
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges (I grow grape and heirloom sweet tomatoes and sometimes use several of these orange and red tomatoes for a bigger “burst” of flavour)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (most recipes call for 1/2 lb but I find that too much, often eliminating them altogether)
1/4 cup nicoise olives (or Kalamata)
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 anchovies chopped finely (optional. I love anchovies)

METHOD

Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

In a jar or bag, place the oil, vinegar, shallots, herbs, and mustard together. Cover and shake until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with 3 tbsn of vinaigrette. (the onions soaking in the vinaigrette will help take some of the bite out of them. )

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add 1 tbsn of salt. Heat to boil. Lower and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. While still warm, cut them into quarters. Place them in a bowl and dress them with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.

While the potatoes are cooking, fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, and add w teaspoons of salt. Bring to boil and add green beans. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite (about 3-5 minutes). Drain and either rinse with cold water to stop the cooking or shock for half a minute in ice water.

Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter. Cut tuna into 1/2 thick slices and mound in center of bed of lettuce (or spread canned tuna). Sprinkle the tomatoes, onions, olives, capers, and anchovies around the tuna. Arrange the potatoes and green beans around the outside edge. Place egg wedges on one side of the serving dish, face up.

Pour the vinaigrette over dish just before serving. Garnish with fresh basil.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

Caponata

I love discovering new Italian dishes that I’m told are basic, traditional masterpieces that everyone knows. Unfortunately, I wasn’t born an Italian, so it’s all news to me. This is yet another dish with only one name. And it is amazing. The fusion of flavours makes perfect sense once you make it. But I would never thought of putting them together this way myself. Absolutely stunning served at room temperature as a snack or appetizer.

INGREDIENTS

4 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
1 large eggplant, diced
6 small videlia tomatoes, chopped in quarters
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (to garnish)
ciabatta or calabrese bread (to serve)

METHOD

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan. Add the celery and onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the remaining oil and the eggplant. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 mintues, until the eggplant starts to colour.

Add the garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, and sugare, and mix well. Cover the mixture with a circle of wax paper and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Remove the wax paper, stir in the olives and capers, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the caponata into a sering dish and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle over the parsley to garnish. Serve with bread.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.