Meat tenderizing involves using a hammer to flatten meat, so that the fibers in tough cuts are broken up and stretched. All good meat hammers have spiky sides and flat sides. The spiky side is used for tenderizing. It rips the fibers apart and punches holes through the meat, so that the meat tenderizes while cooking. It is best to tenderize big skinless, boneless meat cuts. Wild game, pork, beef, chicken and turkey are all good examples. Here’s how to tenderize meat correctly:
With scaloppini and paillards, position the meat between a couple of plastic wrap sheets, ensuring that the sheets are sufficiently large to hold the meat as it gets bigger, while being pounded. Start from the middle and work your way outwards. Use a gentle but rhythmic pounding. Bring down the hammer repeatedly, both straight and sideways. For each new batch, use fresh plastic sheeting.
Bigger cuts should be tenderized by pounding them on a cutting board, on both sides, until they are full of holes. These cuts should resemble sliced meat that is still in one piece. Don’t hold back when pounding these cuts. Meat can be tenderized up to twenty-four hours ahead of time. Store any pounded meat in plastic wrapping, on a plate in the refrigerator.
To cook the meat, use a high heat to grill paillards (they only need two minutes overall, because they are extremely slender). Alternatively, you can saute them inside a skillet, with some olive oil or butter. A dash of lemon juice compliments this dish nicely. Scaloppini should be sauteed inside a skillet, and breading is not necessary ˗ simply melt some fat then add the slender strips. They will be cooked within a couple of minutes.
Tenderized cuts, such as cube steak, lamb sirloin or beef sirloin should be grilled over a high heat. Alternatively, you can broil them for six minutes under a preheated broiler (four to six inches away from the source of heat), until they are fully cooked. Serve with a side green salad and enjoy.
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