Now, to say that I am a steak connoisseur would be a lie, but I can say that I appreciate a good steak. For years, I had my steak cooked medium to medium rare... this all changed in Spain last month. Due to the language barrier and a very confused waitress, Rich and I were served some pretty rare veal steaks - we were a little hesitant at a) how rare they were and b) that they were veal; something I don't agree with. But, I have to admit, they were bloody delicious.
Since then, I have been craving a good steak back in the UK. When Rich went away for the weekend I had no plans for Saturday night, apart from a night in with the X Factor and Casualty (guilty pleasure) - a perfect evening to indulge myself with some overpriced meat!
I popped to the butchers and picked up a rather lovely looking sirloin steak for £6.95, then somehow managed to sweet talk the butcher down to a 5er, perfect! When I got home, I googled some tips on how to cook the 'perfect' steak - in the past I have tended to over cook steak, but this time I was taking no chances.
So, from my internet research, here are some top tips for cooking the perfect steak:
1. Buy the best you can afford - the best is sirloin, which should have been hung for 21 days+ by the butchers/supermarket
2. Look out for a steak which appears to be marbled - the 'marbling' is little veins of fat which add to the flavour
3. Take your steak out of the fridge and into room temperature about 30 minutes before cooking
4. Fry your steak in a thick-bottomed frying pan, non-stick if possible, so the outside can get nice and brown
5. Before cooking, rub olive oil, salt and pepper into the steak. You shouldn't need to add any other oil to the pan!
6. Make sure the pan is at the right temperature - you should be able to hold your hand over the pan without it feeling too hot, but if it just feels warm then turn up the heat. Your steak should sizzle when it hits the pan!
7. Don't cook more than two steaks in a pan at once. Any more than this, and the steaks will just stew rather than fry
8. Once cooked, leave the steak to rest on a hot plate for 5 minutes. This allows it to continue cooking and lets the juices flowww, improving the flavour and texture
what's going on with my wrist (or lack of) here?!
How long do you cook it for?
This is very open to interpretation and depends on the individual and how you like your steak cooked. Even the rare/medium rare/medium/well done distinction can depend on restaurant and chef, so it can be a bit of a minefield! As I say I like my steak pretty rare, so the above steak I cooked for 2.5 minutes on each side. If you like it more 'medium' then cook for between 3 and 4 minutes on each side, and if you prefer your steak more well done then about 5-6 minutes on each side.
What about extras?
Personally, I am pretty traditional and like my steak with chips (I prefer to make my own chips or wedges but today I was feeling lazy!) and steamed veg; brocolli, asparagus and green beans. Alternatively, you could have it with sautéed potatoes, sweet potato wedges, roasted new potatoes, mash... the list is endless!
In terms of sauces, again I like to keep it simple - either as it comes, or with some garlic butter. You can always cook it in the garlic butter to add to the flavour! I find sauces, especially béarnaise, just mask the flavour of the steak and can be a bit sickly. But again, in terms of options you've got loads - peppercorn, Diane, fried onions, gravy, stilton or blue cheese sauce...
For afters?! Well, I finished my meal off with rather delicious slice of treacle tart!
How do you like your steak?