Ever since I started Sweetsonian, I’ve been a weekend blogger.
Years ago, when I had my handy Panasonic point-and-shoot, I knew the photos would be mediocre anyway, so I’d make attempts to cook at night and wake up early to take photographs on the balcony, but I’ve never been a morning person, and I’m now very comfortable with the fact that mornings just don’t agree with my schedule.
6:45, 7:00, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, and 8:45. Throw in 9:00, 9:05, and 9:15, just in case.
Those are the alarms I set on my iPhone every single night. And what time do I usually roll out of bed? 8:45 AM. To get to the office at 10 o’clock.
I know. It’s pathetic. But a girl just needs her sleep.
It doesn’t help that I’m usually up late cramming in freelance work, but I’ve found a method that just works for me.
Chances are, I won’t spend my weekend days working on infographics, but I do get to take advantage of the good natural light in my living room. So generally, I’ll wake up early on a Saturday, scroll through the Google Doc of recipe ideas I have, and then hit the grocery store. After that, I just go to town in the kitchen — and my roommates can vouch for that. I push food on them like it’s crack.
One morning, Katie hosted a brunch for a bunch of her friends. I had planted the seed of steak and eggs the day before, when I tragically left my steaks on the stove to thaw with the warmers on. Needless to say, I’ll never do that again.
Anyway, Katie came back from the grocery store as I was pouring my Sunday morning coffee. Sugar and cream in hand, I sat down at the beer pong table that once served as our interim dining space, ready to dive into the latest issue of Bon Appetit. And then, I heard the clicking of our stove going on, a clamor of frying pans, and the rip of Katie’s fingernails to the shrinkwrap that housed two precious steaks, fresh from the refrigerator.
I think my immediate reaction was “NOOOOO!”
The first time I had ever really learned anything about cooking steak was this past October, when Angela (this girl) made me dinner. One of the first things she mentioned was letting the steak come to room temperature.
Naturally curious, since that evening, I have probably read at least ten articles on how to cook the perfect steak.
I may have leapt from my seat, and taken over brunch. For my first foray into a steak and eggs brunch en masse, I think it went pretty well. And honestly, the simplest meals are often the most satisfying.
And if I’m not delegating tasks anywhere else, I might as well be teaching friends of friends how to properly slice and caramelize onions in my own kitchen.
It’s win-win, really.
Recipe after the jump.
Steak and eggs
Fresh cuts of sirloin steak (for the less luxurious brunch party)
Eggs, two per person
Yellow onions (I used one onion per person)
Generous amounts of salt and pepper
Remove your steaks from the refrigerator. Let them sit out at room temperature for AT LEAST thirty minutes, because a cold steak will never cook properly. Exposing a cold steak to high levels of heat will only overcook the outer surface of the steak, while leaving the center of the cut completely raw (and temperature-wise, cold). Katie’s hunger pangs were not happy when I told her this. But don’t worry — that gives you time to prep the eggs.
Remove your steaks from the packaging, and pat them dry with paper towels. Rest them on a cutting board, and season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. While they come to the right temperature, prep your onions.
Slice them as you like — I preferred them diced for this dish. In a skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil, and then combine your onions. Cook them, stirring consistently, until they start to brown. You can add a little bit of wine (or brunch champagne) when the pan gets really hot to help jumpstart the caramelization process. But if you’re patient, you’ll see that the onions will turn to a deep caramel color. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes. When they’re done, set them aside.
Now, heat a large, heavy cast iron skillet. You want the surface to be very hot, because it’s going to take an enormous amount of energy to transform the steak surface into the complex and flavorful crust that you want. Read more about the science behind that process.
Lightly brush your skillet with an oil that can stand a lot of heat — vegetable oil works well. Olive oil, not so much.
Sear your steaks — top, bottom, and all sides, letting each side sizzle for about four minutes per side, giving you a nice rosy-pink center for medium rare. As your steaks finish cooking, brush the surfaces with a bit of melted butter, and splash a little Worcestershire sauce into the skillet. This will help develop a crisp and complex flavor to the steaks’ crusts.
Set the steaks aside for up to ten minutes, to let the juices redistribute within the meat itself. This is just enough time to prep some eggs.
I prefer my eggs runny with steak — so I use a small nonstick frying pan and carefully fry eggs for a minute or two per side. If you can flip them in the air, be still my heart.
Serve steaks with sharp knives, lots of onions, and eggs the way you like them. Consume with a spicy bloody mary.