Many claim to have the secret for cooking the perfect steak. Some insist it is the technique – turn it once and only once, others claim you must flip the steak repeatedly during the cooking process. Some say it is the use or non-use of a seasoning or a marinade to pre-dress the steak prior to its cooking and then, there are those who maintain it is the heat source and cooking vessel.
For me personally, the important elements are:
1. Use a quality steak – sirloin, porterhouse, rump and ensure it is at room temperature prior to starting the cooking process.
2. Season or marinate the steak very lightly – you want the end product to taste like steak not something else.
3. Use a very high heat to cook the steak quickly and ensure the outer surface develops a seared crust.
4. Ensure you rests the steak prior to cutting into it – the general rule is half the time it took to cook the steak (ie the steak took 6 minutes to cook then rest for 3 minutes).
Serves – 2
2 x 250-300g sirloin or porterhouse steaks
50 ml olive oil
salt and pepper to season steak
250 g mushrooms (button, pine, field mushroom etc )
¼ cup red or white wine
250 ml chicken stock
100 ml cream
50 g butter
fresh black pepper
handful of fresh herbs to finish (parsley, thyme, basil etc)
1. Season steaks with salt and pepper.
2. If cooking indoors use a heavy based pan large enough to hold the steaks being cooked comfortably (the more space around them the better). Heat the pan for 5-10 minutes so it gets very hot and add the oil just before you are ready to commence cooking the steaks.
If cooking outdoors on a barbeque, heat the cooking plate or grill so it is very hot and whilst coming up to temperature, massage the salt and peppered steaks with the oil so they are well coated.
3. When your cooking utensil/vessel is very hot, place the steak onto the hot surface and allow the heat to sear the steak for 3-4 minutes before turning it over to cook the other side for a further 3-4 minutes.
It does depend on the thickness of the steak and the temperature of the cooking surface but for most general cuts 1-1.5 cm (3 minutes each side is rare, 4 minutes each side is medium and 5-6 is well done). If cooking T-bone or rib-eye up the steak by 2 minutes per side.
4. Remove the steak to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil.
5. If you used a pan to cook the steaks then add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté for a few minutes to soften slightly before deglazing the pan with the wine and allow it to reduce slightly.
If you did not use a pan to cook the steak, place a pan on the cooking surface and heat to medium, add a splash of oil, the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook for two minutes then add the wine and allow to reduce.
6. Next add the stock to the pan and over a high heat allow the mushrooms, wine and stock bubble away so the liquid is reduced by half.
If any steak juices have formed in the plate holding the steak, these can also be added to the pan to intensive the steak flavour.
7. Once the liquid is reduced add a good splash of cream, the butter and lots of fresh herbs. Cook for 2 minutes so the sauce emulsifies and develops a shine.
8. Slice the steak and place on a warm plate, spoon over the mushroom sauce and serve with the vegetables of your choice.