Saturday, January 05, 2008
Salt Block Onglet
Every once in a while, I will buy something and, for whatever reason, just never get around to using it. Months or years may pass before I remember that, yes, I do have that thing and need to use it.
This wasn't one of those times when years have passed, but it certainly was one that weeks have passed. Back in October, I ordered some Himalayan Salt Blocks from The Meadow in Portland. These are multi-purposed salt blocks that can be used either hot or cold and can impart a saltiness to whatever you're placing on top of them. I had read a bit about them, ordered them and was excited to use them. They arrived at the end of October and I only got to using them today.
There was a piece of onglet from Springfield Farms lying around the refrigerator, as well as some random mushrooms and shallots I had picked up at Belvedere Square several days ago, and all would be put to use.
Cooking with the salt block is a relatively straight-forward affair: just heat it up and cook on it directly, allowing the natural salts in the block to accent the flavor of whatever it is you are cooking. With that in mind, I turned up the electric burner, set the block directly on top and ground some fresh black pepper on the steak.
Meanwhile, I heated up some butter and canola oil in a cast-iron skillet and sauteed the shallots and mushrooms together.
After waiting several minutes, I drizzled some canola oil on the salt block, laid the onglet on top and then...nothing. Damn. The salt block hadn't heated enough to sear the steak. Doom on you, ono-I-don't-know-how-to-sear-the-steak-coffeeguy.
I sucked. And I pulled it off the block and waited for it to heat a little more.
Of course, the side had started to cook and had turned gray. None too appetizing but I pushed forward. In other words, I waited and pretended to tend to the mushrooms for cover.
After a few more minutes, I laid the steak back on the block. Just a little sizzle. But not the sizzle I was expecting to properly cook the steak. Dammit. Again. This time, I decided to push through it and let it do its' thing. It cooked the steak well enough, just without the carmelized crust that makes for a delicious steak.
The steak turned out pretty good despite of my poor technique. Tending towards the "salty" side, I think it would have been better if I had achieved the proper temperature before laying it on the block. The sear and faster cook time would have reduced the amount of salt exposure and, I'm guessing, delivered a steak that was seasoned "just right."
At least next time it should be better...