See that picture up there? What a cute little salad. Just a simple mix of snappy farmers’ market tomatoes, fresh basil, and scallions, tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. One look at this picture and you might think I created a lovely dinner the other night. With a dazzling side dish like this, how could anything go wrong?
Well, everything did. You see, I tried to cook flank steak. However, red meat and I do not get along. I like to eat it but I cannot cook it. I fail every time and nothing makes me feel worse. It’s almost as bad as when the dentist tells me I have a cavity.
Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic. In any case, Tuesday’s meaty mishaps were entirely my fault, part of an effort to put a speedy dinner on the table by cutting some corners along the way.
My night of infamy began when I returned home from work and saw that the hefty flank steak in the refrigerator had not completely defrosted. Problem #1. But instead of patiently waiting for it to thaw, I went ahead and rubbed the meat with olive oil and spices and then threw it back in the fridge to marinate for an hour. When I took it out of the fridge for the second time, it was still a cold brick. Problem #2. Or maybe Problem #1.5, since this still-frozen meat was really an extension of Problem #1. Oh who cares, I can’t keep count.
Anyway, ignoring everything I had ever read about how meat should be defrosted and brought to room temperature before cooking, I threw the beef under the broiler. I hoped I could beat the system by simply cooking the still-frozen steak for a little longer than the prescribed ten minutes. So I cooked it for twelve. Brilliant.
When I took it out of the broiler, the meaty slab looked gorgeous and perfectly browned. “That smells great,” said Jim. I beamed with pride. I touched the meat with my finger, and the beef joyously bounced underneath. Should I get the meat thermometer? I thought. I looked at the steak again. No, it’s perfect. I’ve finally done it.
After resting the steak under foil for five minutes, I confidently started to slice it. But then my muscles tensed as the deceiving brown exterior revealed a pink, raw interior. Oh no, not again. I threw it back in the broiler, my face as red as the uncooked meat. I must have removed and returned that stupid piece of beef to the broiler three or four times. Yes, that’s right, it was a stupid piece of beef, I said it.
I finally committed the ultimate act of destruction: I cut the whole steak into slices and finished them under the broiler just so we could sit down and eat. At this point I had been preparing dinner for an hour and forty-five minutes. For what? For dried little hockey pucks that required at least one hundred chews before swallowing.
I’d show you a photo of it all, but it’s really too depressing. Instead, just enjoy the bouncy little tomatoes. And please, learn from my mistakes.