Steak is one of the most difficult foods to make well. It seems that something that seems so simple has perplexed so many people. Here are a few tips that will guarantee that you make the best steak dinner ever.
Pick the right piece of meat
It’s important not to skimp on the quality of the meat. Remember more expensive is not always better. Steaks aged for 20 days or more will be more tender. Cuts like fillet are more difficult to cook at home so choose sirloin, ribeye, or other cuts that have a little fat running through it. Interestingly, the butcher recommended an onglet (or eye steak) which is a cheaper cut which gives you the feel of a fillet but half the price and easier to cook. To make cooking easy, make sure that meat is one to 1.5 inches thick. Remember once you buy them try to use them within one or two days. Don’t freeze the steaks because the freezing/thawing process changes the consistency and the flavor of the meat.
Warm it up
Never cook a steak directly from the fridge. When the cold meat hits the hot pan the muscle fibers will spasm resulting in a tough steak. Make sure the meat warms to room temperature by leaving the steak on the counter for 20 – 30 minutes. The closer to room temperature the meat is when you cook it; the more tender it will be.
Have the right tools
A heavy gauge non-stick pan or griddle pan are the best tools for cooking a good steak. If you don’t have an iron skillet or griddle pan, just make sure you have a good non-stick pan that can take very very high heat without warping. Make sure you have tongs or a spatula to turn the steak. You don’t want to pierce the steak with a fork while it’s cooking.
Make it hot
The pan must be SUPER hot to cook a good steak. Normally I leave the skillet on the stove on the highest heat for at least 10 minutes to make sure every surface of the pan is at its hottest. It’s hot if you sprinkle a drop or two of water in the pan and it cracks and sizzles and evaporates completely in a second or two. Here’s where I advise you unplug your smoke detector and turn on your exhaust fan and open the windows. We’re going to make it really smoky. Again, it’s really important that you are sure that the pan you are using is able to handle the high heat and distribute the heat evenly across the entire surface of the pan or you may have a fire on your hands.
Less is more
When it comes to seasoning a steak, less is best. Simple kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper allows the flavor of a good steak to come through. Add a little butter and parsley as garnish after cooking makes it perfection. I also recommend Montreal Steak Seasoning for a really good complement to steak.
Don’t overcook it
I know a lot of people will disagree but steaks are not meant to be eaten well done. A little pink won’t hurt you and it adds flavor and juiciness to the meat. It’s very difficult to cook a steak well done without ruining the flavor. This is because when you cook a steak to well done in the pan, when you remove it from the heat it will continue to cook. By the time you eat it, it will be dry and tough. A one to 1.5 inch steak should be cooked for four to six minutes on each side depending on how hot you can get your pan and how well done you want it. Just try it once for me – cook your steak to medium (well done on the edges pink in the center but no bleeding) and you’ll definitely understand the difference in taste and I bet you won’t get sick.
Let it rest
When you’ve cooked the steak, you’ve got to let it rest. Resting allows the steak to settle down and distributes the juicy goodness throughout the meat. Rest the steaks for at least 5 minutes before you serve it. Place the steaks on a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil or waxed paper (grease proof paper). Also resist the urge to poke or pierce the meat to test if it’s done enough.
Steak with Garlic and parsley with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Heavy gauge frying pan or griddle pan
Non-stick baking Sheet
Tongs (or something to turn the steak without piercing it)
Steak cut of choice 1 – 1.5 inches thick
2 tbls peanut, sunflower or vegetable oil (DO NOT use olive oil)
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic pressed
2tbls salted butter
2tbls chopped fresh parsley
4 large potatoes
10 shallots whole & whole (or 2 small onions quartered)
2 tbls Olive oil
1tsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 tbls fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ tsp dried rosemary (or 1tbls fresh rosemary chopped)
Green salad to serve
Preheat oven to 400F/200C
Start by removing the steak from the fridge. Drizzle peanut oil on steaks and massage into the meat. Season to taste with salt…be generous because some of the salt will burn off in the pan. Add pepper and set aside to allow to warm to room temperature.
While meat is warming wash and chop potatoes into equally sized chunks. Place the chopped potatoes on a dish towel or paper towel and blot dry. Place the dried potatoes in a mixing bowl along with shallots and add all of the remaining ingredients. Mix well to coat all potatoes. Place on baking sheet and place in oven. Cook for 25 minutes.
Begin heating the pan for the steak. Place pan on stove on the highest setting. Heat the pan for 10 minutes (keep a close eye on it). When the pan is hot, place one steak in the pan. Allow the pan to heat back up to temperature for about a minute before adding the second steak. Allow the steaks to cook (don’t touch them) for at least 4-5 minutes. Turn the steaks and cook on the other side for 1 minute less than you cooked the first side. Remove from pan and place on plate. Cover with foil or wax paper.
At this point the potatoes should be done. If so, remove from oven and set aside.
Make the butter by placing butter and pressed garlic in a microwave safe bowl. When steaks have rested and you are ready to serve, heat butter in microwave for 30seconds to 1 minute until completely melted. Add parsley and mix well. Pour over steaks just before serving.