July 31, 2010

Spice Rubbed Grilled Steak with Charred Onions

Caramelization is a beautiful thing. Quite honestly, I don't really understand how someone can NOT like what it does to food. I feel like caramelization is a technique that elevates the flavor of food in special way.

I'm fascinated by the process. When I slice onions, and place them in a medium hot pan with a type of fat (usually olive oil) - the begin by "sweating". Ever see a recipe that calls for that? Just think of the onions when they are translucent. You can stop the process there - and add whatever else the recipe calls for, and you would achieve a certain type of flavor. Usually sweet, and mild. However, for an even deeper, more complex flavor - you keep going...

Keep the process going until - essentially the "sweat" evaporates and the natural sugars in the onion (in this case) start the browning, or caramelization process. You can stop when it turns that beautiful caramel color - or you can even keep going until you reach the "charred" state.  

I doubt that this is even  a true cooking technique, but I have seen it in many restaurants I have worked through and on many menus. I have heard many discussions about how this cannot be very healthy for you. (oh.. but tastes so good) I think the concern is primarily on an outdoor grill - where the flames can touch the food and produce high amounts of carbon.

I'm not food scientist, just someone who's really passionate about food - and this recipe. (Which happens to be cooked on an outdoor grill) 

Beef Used:                               Spices used:
Beef shoulder steak                Kosher salt
                                                  Fresh cracked black pepper
                                                   Onion powder
                                                   Garlic powder
                                                   Chili powder

Important points to remember: 
-Rub the steak liberally with oil first, and then spices. Allow to sit for at least an hour (or more)
-Slice onion into about 1/2 inch rounds and coat with oil & season before placing on the outdoor grill
-Do not cook this beef too long - in order to keep it on the tender side. 
-You must allow the meat to rest a bit once off the grill - to allow the juices to get back into the meat (and not on your cutting board)
-You must slice the meat across the grain to ensure ultimate tenderness with this cut of meat!! A good explanation can be found here The Hungry Mouse 


Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen said...

I caramelize a big pan of onions and store what I don't use, in the fridge. It keeps for a couple weeks and we love them on sandwiches! I agree "caramelization is a good thing."

steph said...

i always caramelize some onions for a steak dinner, it's the best toppings! looks delicious!

Sandy (Stollar) Leibowitz said...

Thanks for the comments :)

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