Legs And All
When the calendar flips and the mercury climbs, the brief season of spring brings forward a thousand fleeting treasures of the Chesapeake Bay. It is a time of emergence, then abundance, and before we know it, the ephemeral.
Blink, and you miss it. Warm days, a cool breeze. The arrival of the osprey, blooms on the dogwood tree, that first flush of wildflowers and the rippling whiff of honeysuckle, all before we’re overwhelmed by the plentitude and potency of summer. And by the eve of June, when winter already feels like another lifetime, this fruitful feeling reaches its greatest zenith on the Chesapeake with the flight of the soft-shell crab.
Texas chef John Tesar shares the secret to cooking a perfect steak.
John Tesar got his first taste of perfectly-cooked steak at the age of 10 in an old-school American chophouse by the name of Part I in Key Gardens, Queens.
Growing up in New York, his dad was a banker, and according to John, one of his clients was the mob.
“It was a weird, Goodfellas time,” he says today. “Dad knew everybody, and this was like the he-man place to hang out. One Friday night, he took the family out to dinner there, and to this day, I’ll never forget the taste of a steak done under a broiler like that."
John Tesar's Cast Iron Skillet Steak
I don't know when cooking a steak became so complicated. When I was growing up -- and this is probably true for you, too -- we didn't need to have charcoal or wood chunks or lighter fluid or a hibachi or a Big Green Egg to cook a steak, much less a sous vide machine and a water circulator. You didn't have to own a backyard or blacken your hands or dispose of dusty ashes. All you needed was a big steel pan, some oil, salt, and a piece of good meat. Some of the best steaks I ever ate were cooked this way -- where the beefiest flavor and the deepest crust depended mainly on a good pan, a strong burner, and an honest piece of meat. I like to call this method Back to the Pan because it encourages people to not get too fussy about steak.
Pick up Chef John Tesar's Cookbook, Knife: Texas Steakhouse Meals At Home, here.