How do you like your flat iron?
The exact definition of “rare,” “medium rare,” “au point,” etc. is very subjective. A little practice will help you learn just exactly what temperature achieves your preferred appearance of doneness.
Here are some basic temperature setting guidelines used by restaurants:
Rare: 129 F/54 C.
Medium rare: 135 F/57 C
Medium: 140 F/60 C.
Medium well: 150 F/66 C.
Well done: 165 F/74 C.
Preheat the water in your sous vide bath to the temperature that most closely matches your preference. Most chefs try to arrive at an internal temperature of approximately 129 F/54 C. This is much easier to do using sous vide than by conventional methods.
Stage the flat iron into a dedicated vacuum bag. Seal and sous vide process at the temperature best suited to your preferences for a minimum of 4 hours. Because the rate of collagen conversion at sous vide temperatures is so low, the interval can be extended without any noticeable change in color or texture. AFTER the initial processing, lower the temperature to hold at 129 F/54 C for up to eight hours..
Finishing and Presentation:
Toss the carrot strings with a pinch of salt and pepper, add a few drops of oil and a few drops of white vinegar. Allow to cure for a few minutes and the carrots will soften.
Remove the flat iron from the bath, remove from the pouch and pat dry. Cut in half so that you have two approximate squares. Dust the steaks lightly with the flour. Smear the dusted steaks with the egg white–this will help the spices cling to the surface. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, paprika, and a little chopped parsley. Store on a dry surface while you heat your pan.
Heat the skillet to a surface temperature of 275 F/135 C. Drizzle or spray one of the steaks with a few drops of vegetable oil. Add a few drops of oil to the pan as well and lay a steak in the pan. Brown for thirty seconds on each side, remove from pan and repeat the process with the other half of the steak. Remove from pan. There is now a butter sprayer on the market that I have been using one with good results. Coat or spray the steaks with a little butter, allow to rest for two minutes. Meanwhile,
saute the sliced mushrooms in the pan until they soften and darken. Add the wine to the pan, reduce to almost nothing, and add the demi-glace. Do not boil further.
Heat the plate in a 190 F/88 C oven–this is very important. Hot plates give you more time to create a deliberate presentation. Restaurants always use hot plates and one of the large chains takes great pride in advertising how hot their plates are–they usually arrive to the table sizzling.
Slice the steaks on the bias as thin as possible, as shown:
You can see the uniform appearance of doneness throughout the steak. Almost impossible to achieve by traditional means, this is one of many favorable features of the sous vide process. No matter how you like your steak, this principle applies. It is no longer necessary to “burn” a steak just to achieve a well done appearance–sous vide does that for you!
Set one of your plates on a flat surface. Arrange some mushrooms on the plate, drizzle with the sauce. Coil the carrots around the tines of a fork and lay on the plate as shown. Crown with cherry tomatoes cut in half.
Arrange the sliced steak on top. I was trained to always shingle from right to left. I also sprinkle with parsley. Almost always.
As the steak imitates a roast, it can be served family style/banquet style–the flat iron is very lean and a little goes a long way.
Flat iron is one of my favorite steaks for sous vide application. It is just firm enough to benefit from the collagen converting properties of sous vide. After processing according to appropriate guidelines, it can also be shocked cold in ice water to 70 F/21 C and then kept at 40 F/4 C for an extended period of time. Sous vide processing pasteurizes the steak, like a carton of milk. This makes it convenient for an impromptu meal at any time of day–just treat as raw and sear as per the directions in this recipe until you achieve an internal temperature of approximately 125F, “mouth hot.”