Posts Tagged 'steak'

The Perfect Steak

Beef Rib-Eye

I’ve eaten beef all over the world and nothing comes close to good Irish beef; it’s the best. I recall tucking into a chateaubriand in Spain a couple of years ago and I couldn’t get over the fact that despite the fancy cut and that I had perfectly seasoned and cooked it table-side on a hot stone, the flavour wasn’t a patch on anything I could get at home.

I’m sure everyone has their own way to cook what they think is the perfect steak. Here’s my 8-point, foolproof guide to steak heaven.

  1. Buy good meat. A little obvious this, but try to ensure your meat is from a good source. Buy from a reputable butcher and ensure the beef has been hung for at least 21 days. My favourite cuts are fillet and rib-eye. I like the decadence of fillet, the fact that you can buy it really thick. I like it about 2-3 inches, cooked rare. Sometimes I prefer rib-eye, vastly superior to fillet in terms of flavour, but not as lean or as tender. If you’ve never tried rib-eye before, do give it a try.
  2. Use a cast-iron grill pan. This is one of my favourite pieces of kitchen kit. Those ridges on the grill pan are not there for show. They give the steak an appetising ridged look, but they caramelise the sugars on the outside of the meat giving a deep flavour. Make sure your grill pan is absolutely smoking hot before adding any food.
  3. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Opinions are divided on whether to salt your steak before or after grilling. Some people say that salting before cooking draws out the juices. I’m not sure I subscribe to this. Provided you’re not cooking your steak to “well-done”, salting before grilling helps to give you that crusty, savoury outside and a juicy centre.
  4. Oil the steak, not the pan. When grilling anything, it’s important to oil the food, not the pan itself. This helps to give you the all-important charred effect.
  5. Turn only once. Grill on one side, then turn and grill on the other. You should try to move the meat only once during cooking. If you’re constantly moving or turning the meat you risk losing precious juices.
  6. Don’t overcook. My own personal preference is for medium-rare, as I like a warm centre. If you’re a member of the “well-done” brigade, you can get your coat and leave. 😉
  7. Rest the meat. This step is often overlooked, but it’s very important. Resting allows the juices to be distributed back into the centre of your steak. It also allows the meat to relax, making it a lot more tender.
  8. Serve with some simple accompaniments which allow the flavour of the meat to shine. I like some silky, buttery mash and some steamed greens – broccoli, asparagus and green beans are all good. Some good bread would not go astray.  I like to accompany this with a robust red wine such as a Barolo or Bordeaux.

Red Onion Marmalade

Steak Sandwich with Red Onion Marmalade

Heat a large knob of butter in a saucepan, add a little oil to prevent it burning. Finely slice 2 red onions and fry hard for a couple of minutes. Add 1 tbsp of dark muscovado sugar along with 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Stir to coat the onions and reduce the heat as low as you can. Put the lid on the pot and cook very gently for 30 minutes. The onions should be dark, sticky and melting. Season with a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Serve on a good steak sandwich, along with some rocket leaves and a blob of mayo. Great for the summer.

Serves 2.