Steak – Tips, Methods and Sauces

10:00 pm on 1 March 2004

There is often a feeling that restaurants will always be able to cook a steak better than you can at home. These observations should help you achieve a well cooked steak. I prefer meat from the middle to thin end of the fillet. It would preferably be marbled with fat. If you find a butcher with aged meat, then you’re away laughing.

Tips

  • The steak should be no less than 1 inch and no more than 3 inches thick
  • The meat should be at room temperature before cooking
  • Start with a high heat and lower slightly once surface is sealed
  • Overcrowding the pan is bad. You can’t do steak for large numbers unless you have lots of elements with plenty of grunt
  • Season with salt before or after

Glazes

It is worth making a good stock if you want a glaze for the steak.

Some delis will sell beef stock or you can use tetra pack stock. If you buy either of these, reduce them by half before you begin. If you want to make stock, get a good pile of bones, preferably with a knuckle, roast them with about ten onions cut up, a few carrots and a little celery. Cover with water and red wine if you wish and simmer for 12 hours. Cool, remove fat, reduce. The stock should have set as an aspic around the bones if cold. Sieve.

Cooking

For the 1 inch steak you’ll be cooking each side for about 4 minutes (if the steak was at room temperature).

Peppered steak

For a classic peppered steak use the big end of the fillet or some other cut.

Roughly crush green peppercorns and press into the steak on both sides. Cook the steak firmly in a mixture of butter and oil for 4 minutes on each side. De-glaze the pan with the steak in it (or resting beside the pan) using about a ¼ cup of stock. Add a dash of red wine, a dash of brandy and a dash of cream, reduce to a nice consistency and tip over the steak.

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