JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meat hammer

This is my new weapon to reduce meat consumption. Also stress.

Last week, we ate pork escalopes for dinner ... slices of pork egged and breadcrumbed, then flash-fried. Good, but not thin enough. And so I bought a meat hammer. I used it last night to bash some fat lamb leg steaks, with delicious results.

The Cook's Companion - a useful book by Susan Campbell subtitled The Complete Manual of Kitchen Implements and How to Use Them (beginning with your hands) - is pretty sniffy about a meat hammer: These tools should never be used on really tender meat. If you want thin escalopes, ask the butcher to cut them that way; or if the meat is so tough that it actually needs beating, cook it differently. There is a slower, but culinarily superior, method of tenderising the very tough cuts of meat - a long, careful marinading, followed by leisurely cooking.

I like the idea of leisurely cooking; I think that marinading has been proved by scientists to be useless for tenderising; and what happens when you want an escalope, or a thin steak? You bash it out. Just like a cheese-paring restaurateur. Just like a four-year-old boy with a toy hammer. Very therapeutic. Great fun too.

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