Call him a typical man if you will, but ask my boyfriend what he wants for dinner and he’ll say steak every time. Pick the right cut of steak, at its most fresh and you can’t go far wrong.
I often opt for a steak that has been aged for twenty one days, rib eye, rump and sirloin can all be beautifully tender and flavoursome. I’m not mad about fillet steak; in fact, I’d go as far as saying I think it’s over-rated. Personally I find the marbled, fatter cuts much more flavoursome. But, this really is a case of personal preference, much like everything with steak, the cut, how you cook it and what you serve it with; all of which makes having steak at home the best choice. And, when cooking steak for others it is easy to prepare, but equally as easy to get wrong. After all, one mans heavenly rare steak, could in fact be another mans hellish supper.
A well done steak might as well go in the bin as far as I am concerned. Give me a succulent, well rested rare or medium rare steak and I’ll be happy as a sandboy. For me, there are just a few fundamental rules that, if followed, will give you the perfect steak every time.
ROOM TEMPERATURE – Take your steak out of the fridge at least twenty minutes before cooking, allowing it to come to room temperature. This will ensure that the steak cooks evenly, in less time (in the centre)
THE RIGHT HEAT – Heat a heavy based pan before you add your steak. The right heat is really important, too hot and you’ll burn the steak, too cool and you’ll end up with a stewed steak
LET IT REST – When you remove your steak from the pan it will carry on cooking, so rest the meat for 10 minutes before serving, this also allows the fibres to relax and juices to flow evenly through the meat. Never cut into the meat to check if it’s done (it will dry out)
RARE – 2-3 minutes on each side
MEDIUM RARE – 4 minutes on each side
MEDIUM WELL – 6 minutes on each side
So, for my steak with whisky and peppercorn sauce I selected a couple of twenty one day aged rump steaks.
In a small saucepan, heat 300ml of beef stock and 1 tbsp of freshly cracked black peppercorns over a medium heat, allow to simmer (stirring frequently) until it has reduced by a third. Add 60ml of whisky and 240ml of double cream continue to simmer until it has reduced by a third again. Do not boil.
Meanwhile heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and a good knob of butter in a heavy based pan, add the steaks and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Cook for the desired time (as indicated above). I cooked mine for 4 minutes on each side until perfectly cooked on the outside and pink and succulent in the middle. Only turn the steaks once during the cooking process. Remove from the pan, wrap in foil and set aside to rest.
Add 1 chopped red onion to the pan with the steak juices and fry until soft (about 6 minutes). Transfer your steak to a plate (pour over the juices that will have formed in the tin foil), top with the cooked onions and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley; add a large handful of fresh watercress. Pour the peppercorn sauce into small ramekins, crack a little pepper over the top and serve with a large glass of red wine.