Lately I have been giving the concept of 'flavour' some thought. It's something we relish and savour. It's something we value. But what does it actually mean? It's not exactly like taste, it's more like the soul of taste. Well we could philosophise about this all day! But I had a flavoursome experience recently with aged beef.
Now most beef snobs will tell you that beef should be hung for minimum 21-28 days. Minimum. Now where I work we usually hang it for 30-40 days. And we can go even longer if it is what the customer requires.
Now I am not a beef snob. But this meat was on a whole other level. This piece was rump and by looking at it, had been left to mature and dry for about 35 days. I cut the piece in half and shared it. the inside of the meat was a beautiful claret colour with white marbling and yet the outside was black. And I mean black, but not sticky. Most would assume this meat to be ruined. But I refused to accept this.
So I asked Mick (the source of all butchery knowledge) what I should do with it, because I felt it in my gut that this steak could be spectacular (or maybe I was just hungry..). He said, get the pan piping hot, with sunflower oil.. Drain the oil. Add mayonnaise, lemon juice and ginger and place the steak (black side down) into the moisture. This essentially revitalises the steak, infusing it with juices once more. Aged meat is often described as 'gamy'. This steak was on the gamy side, but it was stunning. Absolutely amazing. It wasn't the most tender of steaks but the flavour. Holy Moly. I now know what flavour is.