Good Pans Make Good Chefs Better
As a kitchen shop owner, I hear it every day: “I can’t cook.” And after a bit of conversation, it always turns out that this same miserable wannabe cook has miserable wannabe cookware. You can’t deliver a beautiful dish to the table by using crummy pans.
And yeah, you don’t need to spend loads of money on huge sets of pans, fancy electric appliances you’ll never use, or gadgets like butter curlers or pear corers that you will never use. Just buy a few things that get the job done the way you like it, and live simply.
Having said that, buy yourself a Finex Cast Iron pan. Wow!
Good Times with Finex Cast Iron Pans
Today I wanted to test cook with my new pan, but since my son was home from college on Spring Break, I cooked extra steaks, and needed to use 2 pans. I pulled out my old cast iron pan, and thought “Hey! Let’s comparison cook! (This is me, livin’ la vida loca…Test comparing 2 cast iron pans! Hiyo!)
It started off with the old cast iron getting a nice sear on one steak, and the Finex steak was lagging a bit in color and finish. But after I flipped the steaks, and let them cook over a medium low heat, the Finex steak started to edge ahead. The Finex Cast Iron pan is thicker cast iron than my old cast iron. The thick iron was actually insulating the steak. When I removed the steaks from their pans, the Finex steak was still juicy and plump. The old cast iron steak was dry and a little overcooked. The Finex pan is heavier, and frankly, just a better pan.
If you wonder why professional chefs are so fussy about their pans, it’s because good pans make good chefs better. Treat yourself to some good cookware and see how your cooking skills improve.
Bright Lights, Big Sauce
On their Hollywood style outdoor marquee, there’s a diner down the street from my sister’s house that always features steak with Creole Sauce. I always thought Creole Sauce was some sort of gimmicky Cajun remnant from a 1950’s cookbook. But as usual, my snarky assumption was way off.
While we were visiting friends in Argentina, Salsa Criolla, or Creole Sauce was present on every table, next to every empanada, and served up beside every delicious wood grilled steak. Made of simply bell pepper, onion, and vinaigrette, Salsa Criolla is more like a chunky relish than a smooth sauce. It’s probably the easiest sauce I have ever made.
I guess I was interpreting “Creole” to mean New Orleans style creole. But I forgot there was a creole culture throughout Central and South America. The definition of a Creole is person who was born in the Americas, but who had one or two parents that were of European descent. Creoles had their own culture that was distinct, not European, and not Native American. And depending on where you were born determined what your Creole culture was. So Salsa Criolla was an Argentinian creole sauce, not New Orleans. And Argentina still really digs their Creole Sauce will all of their meals.
Switching to Salsa Criolla
There is no doubt I was raised in the U.S.A.: My first thought when enjoying a good steak is the type of commercial bottled steak I’m in the mood for – ketchup, or the brown stuff in the square bottle. Sad. Salsa Criolla has the elements of ketchup or the brown sauce: Tangy vinegar, sweet peppers, salty, pungent onions…but it has the more “real” aspect of being, well…real. And fresh! And it has texture.
So what I’m saying is that I’m sold. Snarky no more.
Try this simple relish on grilled chicken, pork chops, or even a pan seared slab of tofu.
Pan Grilling a Steak in Finex Cast Iron & Salsa Criolla Recipe
- Yield: 2 Cups (500gr)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (60ml)
- 1 large onion
- 1 large bell pepper, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil (120ml)
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine ingredients in a glass bowl, and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes before serving. Keeps for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.