Steak…..enough said! Just the word gets my mouth watering…. but then comes the panic! It's Friday night, you've dug deep, bought the best and now it's time to do it justice or face the dreaded 'steak shame'. Everyone has their favourite cut. However, to really get to grips with choosing a steak, you need to know the quality of the meat and which cut to choose. Ribeye is characteristically fatty, running through the meat in streaks known as 'marbling' and is absolutely full of flavour. A dry aged, well hung ribeye will be full of flavour and the fat renders down whilst cooking to become a melt in the mouth sensation! A poor quality ribeye will be chewy, the fat runs through the meat like rubber bands and most of it ends up chewed up, spat out and in the bin (or dog bowl!!)
I have learnt not to bother buying ribeye from the supermarket. It always disappoints. Sirloin, however, can be quite good from the supermarket. I think it is more forgiving and can be quite tender. But if you can, find a butcher who knows steak. In Bristol, we are lucky to have Gales in Westbury Park. FANTASTIC….try them.
So….my biggest tip to cooking steak? Start with a hot, dry pan. Hold the steak with the fat directly in the pan and allow it to start to melt. Move this rendered fat around the pan before lying the steak flat. Cook on both sides for 2- 3 minutes then REST the steak under tin foil for a couple of minutes to tenderise.
To create a real wow factor, try serving your perfect steak with a home made Bearnaise sauce. This is how you really get your guests jaw to drop…..and it is SO easy!
You need - a pack of fresh tarragon, 1 fresh egg, white wine vinegar, a pack of salted butter, a lemon, salt and pepper.
- Pick the leaves from the tarragon and chop finely. Place the stalks in a pan with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, about 20 grinds of black pepper, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of water. Boil this down, gently pressing the tarragon stalks with the back of a wooden spoon.
- In a separate pan, melt about 125g of butter. Ideally this should be clarified but to be honest, I don't bother!!
- Boil the vinegar mix down to about the volume of a teaspoon. Pass the liquor through a fine sieve into a pyrex bowl set over a pan of hot water (don't allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl)
- Add a teaspoon of water and the yolk of one egg to the vinegar liquor and start whisking (or use hand held electric beaters)
- With the beaters running (or you whisking like mad!!!) start adding the melted butter about a teaspoon at a time initially to create an emulsion. Keep whisking and add each trickle of butter until the sauce has thickened to the texture of a loose mayonnaise.
- Add the chopped tarragon to the buttery emulsion and taste. Add a squeeze of lemon, adjust salt and pepper as required and keep 'tweaking' until just right.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!!