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Top Blade Steaks


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Top Blade Steaks

Benjamin B | | Jan 27, 2012 01:35 PM

I have a bit of a puzzle for you chowhounds:

I was at the grocers the other day and I was feeling like eating steak, but not paying too much for it.
There were some steaks marked "FlatIron Steaks" but these looked nothing like a standard flatiron steak. The heading under that was "Top Blade Steak", and they were $4/lb... so I thought, "Why Not".

They have a little strip of connective tissue running down the middle, which I figured might be tough, and after some reading generally that is the consensus. I decided to just salt/pepper them and pan sear at high heat on the cast iron for a minute a side and then into the oven to finish at 425F before resting covered for a few minutes.
With this I roasted some cauliflower (tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper), and wilted some spinach at the last moment with some shallots and a couple little splashes of some 10 year balsamic for acidity.

The steaks were good, a solid medium rare and rather tender except for the middle strip of tissue and a little of similar gristle on the outside edge. Made for a bit of work in comparison to something like a ribeye or a regular flatiron... but for the price they were good.

I had some leftover steaks so I put them in a Tupperware, piled some of the roasted cauliflower on them, tossed in some fresh spinach with some of the sautéed shallots and a little splash of the vinegar.

The next day (at work) I reheated the container in the microwave at 60% power for just under 3 minutes. I wasn't expecting much, but I don't like to waste food.
I pulled everything out and put it on a plate, and when I cut into the steak, although the med-rare was now a med-rare+, the steak was now considerably more tender. The connective tissue was no longer like gristle, but instead like a nice little ridge of barely firm fat, completely edible! The flavour was even better.

What caused this? Was the lower power almost 3 minute cook in a moist environment enough to effectively braise the meat? Did the juices from the cauliflower and the little bit of vinegar tenderize it over night?
I tried this on 2 different containers of the steak with the same results on both containers using 2 different microwaves
Overall, I'd like to know how to make the steak that tender without the Tupperware overnight and microwave because if I can get these that tender and flavourful on the first try I'd happily serve them at a dinner party.

Any ideas?

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