Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quality Foods

This past weeked, we attended the Saunders Family Reunion.  This reunion was started 30 years ago for Rob's mom's side of the family.  It is held every 3 years and alternates between Alberta and B.C.  This year is was held at Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island. 

True to form, within hours of arriving on the Island, we made our way to the local grocery store, Quality Foods.  They are an independent chain, serving Vancouver Island   We were looking for a few snacks for the weekend and items to contribute to the family supper that evening.  The official reunion started Saturday morning.  We headed straight for the meat counter to pick up a few steaks.  Our first choice was a package of strip loins @  $7.50 lb.  The choices they had at the meat counter were one of the best we have ever seen.  On our way to the till we came across a display for Flat Iron Steaks.  We have often found these on restaurant menus but not available at the local grocery store.  A package that fed four of us sold for $8.25.    Now if you have never heard of a Flat Iron, here is the background on this very tender, flavorful and inexpensive cut of beef.

"The Flat Iron Steak (also know as a Top Blade Steak), now appearing in grocery stores and on restaurant menus was developed by teams at the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida. The problem that presented these researchers of the cow was what to do with a waste cut of beef from the shoulder of the cow. Though a flavorful and relatively tender cut of meat, the top blade roast has a serious flaw in the middle of it; an impossibly tough piece of connective tissue running through the middle.

So, after developing a method for cutting and presenting this steak, these friendly scientists have presented to us an amazing cut of beef. More than that, they have developed a nearly perfect steak for the grill. The Flat Iron (supposedly named because it looks like an old fashioned metal flat iron) is uniform in thickness and rectangular in shape. The only variation is the cut into the middle of the steak where the connective tissues have been removed.

Like any non-loin steak, the Flat Iron benefits from marinating and is best if it isn't cooked too well beyond medium. Depending on the particular cut you pick up you might find it more convenient to cut the Flat Iron steak in half because of the center cut through the middle.

This steak has a deep, rich flavor which makes it perfect not only on its own, but also as meat for many dishes. The Flat Iron is very similar to any of the Flat Steaks so anything calling for Skirt or Flank Steak will benefit from a Flat Iron Steak. This steak is best grilled over a medium high heat.

If your butcher stares blankly at you when you ask for a Flat Iron steak, it might not be because he’s a bad butcher. It might be that this particular cut (or actually this particular name) hasn't caught on in your neck of the woods. Instead ask for a Top Blade Steak. But definitely track one down and give it a try. You might just find your perfect steak."

It was a great way to start the weekend.  The next night we followed it up with a baseball cut of steak from the Cactus Club with fresh Halibut and Salmon.  A great meal to Celebrate International World Food Day.

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