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Dear Chef: My husband loves grilled steaks. He seems to want to eat it every day. I like to have one once and awhile, but I get a little tired of prepar-ing it the same old way. Do you have any suggestions on how I could surprise him with a new way of doing it? – Wasting Away in Red Meat Doldrums
Dear Wasting Away In Red Meat Doldrums: I think everyone can relate to the issue you’re dealing with. Chefs are tasked with trying to find innovative ways to make something familiar exciting again.
There are a lot of techniques you can go to, but I’d go with the “reverse sear” method. I think it’s a technique every skilled chef keeps for the right time in their
bag of tricks. I remember seeing renowned Chef Jose Andres use it ages ago, and it caught my attention. In theory, you’re slow roasting the steak to bring it to just below the ideal temperature. I usually go with VERY slow roasted. Some people prefer to go faster. After it’s roasted, you sear it in a hot pan quickly.
This technique is loved by chefs because it seals in the moisture and prevents long-term exposure to high heat. When a steak is exposed to high heat for extended periods of time, it causes it to be tougher and dry out. I’ve jokingly called it the old school sous vide technique. It accomplishes similar results, without all the technology and glamour.
The recipe I’ve included is for beef tenderloin. It’s a good starting point because it’s relatively easy to work with and everyone loves it. After you get comfortable, you can start playing with different cuts and varieties of meat.
A quick Internet search of the words “reverse sear” will pull up endless information. This recipe calls for a decent amount of oil, primarily because beef tenderloin is very lean. Basting and coating with the oil helps ensure a moist and buttery texture.
John Haas is executive chef and partner at M’tucci’s Restaurants.
SLOW ROASTED BEEF TENDERLOIN
1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 3 or 4 filets (preferably sized 1½-2 inches thick, no less, more is OK)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
6-8 garlic cloves, smashed
Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Using about 2 tablespoons of oil, generously coat steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a baking sheet pan or sauté pan, place a wire rack big enough to hold the steaks above the pan. Place the smashed garlic and rosemary sprigs under the rack. On the rack, place the steaks. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil on the steaks that are sitting above the garlic and rosemary, so it falls onto it.
Place the pan in the middle rack of the oven. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the meat reaches around 90 degrees F. Flip the steaks over and drizzle remaining oil on top of steak. Place back in oven and cook until preferred temperature (130 F is recommended). Remove steaks from oven and reserve oil from pan.
In a sauté pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of reserved oil. Heat the sauté pan until it’s very hot. Sear the beef tenderloin quickly on both sides to brown it. Accompany with your favored sides dishes.