I have a weakness for good ingredients. I have no problem openly discussing it and am happy to say that I’m out and proud. It’s not a matter of snobbery it’s a matter of flavor, nutrition and producers integrity. My love of good ingredients has lead family members to question my logic in the past. They are of the belief that food is food and if you spend as little money as possible on it you’ll be left with money in the kitty to spend on other things. I constantly find myself at odds with this philosophy…..
Yesterday evening I’d planned to make a lentil and red cabbage dish from my new favorite cookbook “My Darling Lemon Thyme”. To accompany the lentils I’d decided to make some steak to satisfy the carnivorous members of the family. I’d already brought two Green Meadows steaks from Moore Wilson the day before but yesterday a couple of unexpected visitors stopped buy for dinner so I asked my husband if he would pop to the shop and pick up a couple more steaks. He returned with a plastic box that contained three Angus eye fillets from Countdown. Retail value: $18.
I dried, seasoned and drizzled the Green Meadows and Countdown steaks with olive oil before cooking on a searing hot griddle. There were two obvious differences between the two steaks; the countdown steak was bright red where as the Green Meadows steak was a much deeper red. I suspect that the later had been aged before being packaged and dispatched to Moore Wilson.
On the griddle the two steaks performed very differently. The flesh of the Green Meadows caramelized and picked up the griddle lines quickly. The Countdown steak, which had been prepared and cooked in exactly the same way, was slow to caramelize and pick up the griddle lines. It seemed to be steaming rather than frying. Beads of brown residue began to form on the steak, which lead me to believe that it must have been pumped with water.
After cooking I left the steaks to rest on a wooden board before slicing. In all I started out with two pieces of Green Meadows and three pieces of countdown eye fillet. The sliced steak was put into a wooden bowl with three compartments and served. The two dishes on the left of this picture are Green Meadows and the one on the far right is Countdown eye fillet.
It was immediately apparent that the three Countdown fillets had shrunk substantially where as the Green Meadows had remained close to its pre-cooked size.
With a cheeky little twinkle in my eye I decided to conduct a little taste test with a bunch of people who usually question my ingredient philosophy......
Everyone around the table preferred the Green Meadows steaks. It was tender, succulent and had a much deeper flavor. The countdown steak tasted grainy and watery in comparison. It had none of that umami caramelization that the Green Meadows steak had picked up.
The two Green Meadows steaks cost $16 but didn’t shrink. The Countdown steaks cost $18 for three pieces, which shrunk substantially and didn’t taste of anything in particular.
By the end of the meal we'd polished off the Green Meadows steak. The rest of the Countdown steak was given to the cat, who also turned his nose up at it…..