Physicist’s tip for the perfect steak: Reheat it in the microwave
A physicist turned food writer says steak should be cooked in the microwave and never seasoned with salt.
George Vikenes, who has published books on the science of cooking, said adding salt to steak could make it “tough” and “inedible”.
Speaking on Instant Genius, a program produced by the BBC Science Focus team, he said steaks should be microwaved before being cooked rather than cooked straight from the fridge.
The author of “Physics in the Kitchen” claimed that the “perfect” steak was medium rare.
“When I want something fried, I will first make sure not to put salt on the steak before frying it,” said the research director and former head of the education office at the National Center for Scientific Research in Athens. .
“Salt has an osmotic ability to pull as much water out of the meat as possible, and it will become tough and inedible.
“So the first tip is to never put salt on meat.”
Mr Vikenes added that it was a “no no” to take the meat straight out of the refrigerator and start cooking it.
“Put it in the microwave for a minute or two.”
“Secondly, it’s always a good idea to heat the meat first in the microwave,” he continued.
“You put it in the microwave for a minute or two – it depends on the thickness of the meat – and then you fry it quickly, very briefly, in the shortest amount of time possible, just to give it a little reaction on the surface.
“When I say short, I’m talking about a minute max.
“You take a steak or beef or whatever and fry it on both sides as little as possible.
“The temperature inside the meat should reach at least 55-60 degrees, which is the absolute minimum.
“So, you get this light aroma and pleasant taste.
“Perfect medium rare meat”
“The ideal way to eat meat is for it to be medium rare, so it will be slightly red and cooked on the outside.
“It’s not a bad idea to put a little oil, even in non-stick pans, but this is of course personal preference.”
Vikenes’ ideas appear to run counter to the advice of celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, whose recipes call for chefs to season steaks generously with salt before cooking.
Jamie Oliver also suggests rubbing steak with olive oil, salt and pepper before cooking it.
Physics in the Kitchen, published this year, explains the science behind a range of food phenomena, from why it’s so hard to get ketchup out of a bottle to how nutrients spread around when we cook.
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