Dial H: Steaks, the professional chef’s way
Cooking high quality beef isn’t that hard, says Andrew Jones, if you follow these steps
My perfect steak is juicy and medium rare in the middle with a savoury, seared, caramelised crust. One of the things I get asked the most is how to do that at home without the intense heat of a professional kitchen at your disposal. If you follow a few key steps, you’ll soon be cooking a steak that any chef would be proud of.
1 Get the right meat. Go to your local butcher and ask for a recommendation. They’re the experts. What I want is not necessarily the most expensive or tender, (I’d take bavette over fillet any day) but the tastiest. There are two things that dictate how well a steak will cook and taste, marbling and dry ageing. Marbling is the fine lines of fat running through the eye of the meat which will melt and give you flavour and texture. Dry aged meat is great to cook; less moisture is lost in the pan, meaning the pan stays hotter and you get more caramelisation. We love Graves in Briston because their beef comes from their own cows and is hung and cut behind the shop. Provenance is vital to me. If you’re feeling fancy get a whole ‘Cote de Boeuf’. We serve it for two to share at Farmyard; it always feels a bit special.
2 Ideally let your meat come up to room temp before you cook it so that the heat transfers more efficiently and get the pan as hot as you can – if in doubt leave it for another minute or so.
3 Oil the meat, not the pan, and season really generously, I like to use sea salt, black pepper and extra virgin rapeseed. Cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil and less acidity meaning it gives off less smoke and has a nutty, buttery flavour, it’s also local – just look around you.
4 Open all the doors and windows and get a tea towel ready for to waft smoke away from the alarm – you’re going to create smoke – if you don’t then you’re not doing it right.
5 Cook each steak individually; if you overcrowd the pan it will cool down and you won’t get that sear. Turn every 1½ -2 minutes so it cooks evenly. A good way to test your steak is to touch your thumb and a finger lightly together and press the fleshy bit where your thumb joins your palm. Touching your thumb and first finger will show you what a rare steak feels like when you press. For medium-rare your thumb and middle finger. For medium touch your ring finger together with your thumb and for well done your little finger.
6 The most important step is resting your steak! I can’t stress this enough, allowing the meat to relax and the internal temperature to even out will enhance your eating pleasure immeasurably. Take it out of the pan and put it on a cold plate; keep the cooking pan and allow it to go cold. Allow your steak to rest for at least half the time it’s cooked for, as a minimum.
7 In the pan that you cooked your steak in add some butter, a crushed clove of garlic and some fresh thyme. When the butter is foaming and beginning to turn a light golden brown put your steaks back in and baste them with the golden butter.
8 When your meat has re warmed (but before it starts cooking) take it out and carve it onto your plate.
ABOVE:How good is your steak?