Men's Health (Malaysia) - - Food & Nutrition -

Some things are ex­pected to im­prove with old age. Cheese, wine, denim – but meat? If you baulk at the thought of six-month-old steak, you’re hav­ing a cow for no rea­son. “The longer you age meat, the more punchy its flavour,” says chef Michael Reid of M Restau­rants. But it de­liv­ers more than gourmet ku­dos: age­ing loosens the con­nec­tive tis­sue, mak­ing the nu­tri­ents eas­ier to ab­sorb. For more good­ness per gram, here’s how it breaks down. As the name sug­gests, wet-age­ing is about in­tro­duc­ing mois­ture. The beef is vac­uum-sealed in plas­tic. “Nat­u­ral juices from the beef ten­derise the meat and make it more flavour­some and juicy,” Reid says. “It’s al­most like a mar­i­na­tion.” As with peo­ple, some steaks age bet­ter than oth­ers. Reid favours the ribeye: “Fat acts as a pro­tec­tive coat, so there’s less lost to tough skin.” He sug­gests ig­nor­ing health-hip­ster lore and look­ing for cows that have been fed grass and grain. “It en­hances the mar­bling and gives the beef rich­ness.”

The more your meat has aged, the drier it will be, and there­fore the less you want to cook it. For ex­am­ple, a six-month ribeye will take half the time of a one-week-old cut. And you can shelve the ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil. Once Reid has trimmed off the ex­cess fat, he ren­ders it down and uses it as a baste. Your sum­mer body will profit from such thrift, too: the fat and choles­terol in red meat helps to main­tain healthy testos­terone lev­els, ac­cord­ing to nu­tri­tion­ist Rhi­an­non Lam­bert.

In­vest in a thick-based steel or alu­minium pan, which holds and dis­perses heat for the all-im­por­tant mail­lard crust, de­liv­er­ing max­i­mum flavour. Fi­nally, Reid favours Wüsthof knives, which have a straight, clean edge that won’t dam­age the protein when slic­ing. Af­ter a six-month prep pe­riod, it would be a shame to dull the ex­pe­ri­ence.

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