Best Steak And Sides
While your steak gets its juices flowing get cracking on these two essential side-dishes.

December 12, 2011

While your steak gets its juices flowing get cracking on these two essential side-dishes.

Let the steaks rest for 15 minutes.

Allowing meat to rest before serving it dramatically improves its juiciness. Resting doesn’t redistribute juices that have been squeezed from the centre of the meat. Instead, letting the protein-rich juices cool slightly helps them thicken. Slice thinly across the grain. Want a sauce for your steaks? Whisk the juices from the bags over low heat with a pat of butter and a hit of sherry vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Green beans

Buy the best: Search for young specimens. As green beans grow, they add more fibrous cellulose to their structure, and that makes them tougher. Figure on 250g of green beans for every two people.

Boil the beans: Salt your water with a pinch of kosher salt for flavouring. Table salt and sea salt often contain magnesium and calcium, which can break down chlorophyll, diminishing the beans’ bright-green colour. Cook the beans at a rolling boil until they’re tender, about five minutes.

Take the plunge: Pectin, a gel that helps plant cells maintain their structure, dissolves when exposed to high heat and water. To keep cooked green beans crisp-tender, bathe them in ice water for 10 seconds right after they’re cooked. The cold water will firm up the dissolved pectin and add more bite to your beans. Drain thoroughly, then top them with a pat of butter and season with salt.

Baked potatoes

Choose your tuber: The cultivars “Up-to-date”, “Caren” and “Darius” contain cells that separate easily when cooked, yielding a light and fluffy interior. Try to avoid the Mondial, Fabula or Platina cultivars as these potatoes are waxy in nature and not ideal for the result you want.

Spear the spuds: Cut the cooking time by as much as half by stabbing a clean aluminum-based nail lengthwise through the centre of each potato. Make sure
at least 2.5cm of nail is sticking out of the potato. The nail will conduct heat, boosting the spud’s internal temp.

Bake ’em: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly coat two potatoes with oil, which slows the escape of moisture and helps gently fry the skins. Place the spuds on a baking sheet and bake them until the skins are crisped and you can pierce them easily with a fork, about 45 minutes. Wearing an oven mitt, carefully remove the nails. Make a shallow cut lengthwise in each potato and fluff the inside with a fork, gradually adding about a tablespoon of cubed cold butter. Season with salt and pepper.