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Steak 101 – 5 steps to the beginner’s success

by on October 25, 2009
 
  1. If at first you don’t suceed, try again. I did!
  2. If you follow a winning recipe, try to make sure you leave experimenting for another day. I didn’t.
  3. You will need to let your pan heat up well before you grease it
  4. Whatever you do, make sure you ‘rest’ your steak
  5. If you fail the second, third, fourth or even fifth time…..don’t give up.

The complete steak meal

I always say this is why I love food – its ever forgiving nature.

When I discovered Jaden’s steak recipe….I knew I’d come home, or at the very least….found my way to an ‘in-laws’. I’ll say it again, I wasn’t raised on steak and so its cooking has always been an issue. Yes, the first experience was akin to having my mouth open up for a long soak in ‘dead sea’,  because I oversalted the steaks. Did I mention as well that I cooked it till every trace of pink was obliterated?  And even then, my steak-lover of a husband praised me and lauded it the best steak I’d ever cooked.

The second time round, I was keen to impress him….and myself. Would I be able to actually eat it? That was the test.

I decided to make some guacamole and caramelised onion jus to go.

The complete steak meal

I made the guacamole first, combining mashed avocado, chopped red chili, tomatoes, a bit of chipolte paste, some onions and lime juice.

My guacamole kit

Then I seasoned this very well – with salt and placed the stone from the avocado in the mix to stop it browning ( a tip from my Mexican friend, P)! I refigerated it while I got on with the rest.

Halved avocadoMashed avocadoMaking the guacamoleSqueeze of limeStone in guacamole 

I froze my chunk of beef….and then when it was slightly frozen, sliced it into chunks about an inch thick. I can’t tell you what side of beef I got because I don’t know. I think it was a advertised as ‘roast bief’ but I am no longer entirely sure.

I measured out some salt – about 3 tablespoons and in my mortar and pestle, I pounded 4 stalks of lemon thyme and then mixed this with the salt. I proceeded to rub this salt all over the steaks and left them to rest for about 20 minutes…a bit longer than recommendation but my hands were busy.

SteaksLemon thyme salt on steak Lemon thyme salt on steak

Once this was done, I left them to rest and proceeded to make my Onion jus – slices of a medium onion, salted and caramelised in butter and oil till brown. A sprinkling or two of flour is added and mixed well and allowed to cook for a couple of minutes.Add water, stir and season and the jus is ready!

Once the required time was past, I put on my grill pan to heat. Then I rinsed the salt off the steaks and dried them. They had shrunkever so slightly and felt firmer to touch….testimony that they had been well-salted.

Post salting....

All that done, the grill pan heated sufficiently, I put in a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of oil, then I placed the steaks on. As soon as I noticed the underside was brown (after a couple of minutes), I flipped them over and let them cook for another 3 minutes…I think, after which I hauled them out of the pan. There was NO way I was going to overcook these.

In the grill pan In the grill pan

Even though ‘pink’  was scary, I decided it couldn’t be that bad, especially if I let it REST properly and let the juices redistribute.

Steak....resting

After about 7 minutes rest time, I sliced the steak into manageable pieces and served it up.  Now  I must apologise for the photos….it gets dark somuch earlier these days that I’ve resorted to using the flash. I figure that a bad photo is better than no photo.

First, I served the kids…

The kids portion

And then the adults. The ?

Daughter- yummy, salty :-(….but delicious

Husband – soft,easy to chew, great with the jus and guacamole

and finally, ‘Me’- a bit salty, better than the first try….hope to improve 3rd time around! 

The meal-steak and chips

Are you a great steak cook? Or are you more like me? What’s your top tip for cooking steak? Tell all.

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  • November 15, 2009 at 11:02 PM

    Perfect looking steak and great tips! Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply

  • November 8, 2009 at 10:59 PM

    So…I’ve discovered a perfect spot for taking nighttime photos….no more complaints! I think the summer was long and I got addicted to my kitchen window. This new spot – on my stove top. The lights seem to go well so I can stay at the low ISOs (up to 200) and get reasonable, no-flash photos, even macro! Yay!

    Reply

  • October 27, 2009 at 8:58 PM

    I love the pink medium rare flesh, it looks so good! I’m also impressed with the idea of lemon thyme with salt, it must give such a nice refreshing flavor!

    Reply

  • October 27, 2009 at 4:23 AM

    Celia, Thanks for the steak tip. I’ll give that a try and share the results (especially fresh from holiday and a lovely steak dinner that was had by my husband…..).

    On the camera, I adjust the ISO but then it becomes quite grainy and the photo’s end up looking ok, warm and grainy but not conveying what I want! When I grow up I’ll get a DSLR :-)

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 7:16 PM

    Very interesting, Oz, thank you. I was once told by a chef that the best way to cook steak is to sear it for a minute on each side, then finish it in a hot oven. Hmmmm. Now I feel like steak for dinner.. :)

    In terms of the flash photos – does your digital camera have an adjustable ISO? If so, push it right up as high as it will go and you should be able to get a decent non-flash photo. I also try and adjust the white balance when I’m taking photos at night, or I get a cast from the fluoro lights – you’ve obviously got that sorted as your colours look true. Re the ISO, my more expensive Panasonic Lumix with the big lens lets me push the ISO to 400, but my new baby pocket Lumix lets it go all the way up to 6400! (too grainy though, but I get good photos for the net at 1000).

    Cheers, Celia

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    Thanks Alysha….you’re spot on with ground up meat as opposed to steaks – anything made with mince needs cooking right through. I rarely make burgers (a shame really) because I never seem to get well ground mince,I guess I need to get my own mincer! The chipolte sauce I got when I went to London!

    Reply

  • Alysha Ford
    October 26, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    Well as far as pink being scary. With steak its ok the surface of the meat is what gets exposed to bacteria so as long as your surface is cooked your good to go. When grilling a burger you need more caution because its been ground exposing more to bacteria. Tip: testing done-ness clasp hand to fist palm up. With other hand push index finger on pad at bottom of thumb below knuckles thats Well. Loosen fist a bit thats Medium. Relax hand is rare. Thats how steak should feel when poking it.
    We usually just sprinkle are steaks with a bit of lawrys steak salt. Then throw it on the grill served with A1 steak sauce.
    Question: Where did you get the chipotle Paste?

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    Thanks Sophie, Unplanned Cooking….I am struggling at the mo with photos because it gets dark so early…and so my dinner photos end up being flash-assisted! Thanks for the rouxbe.com link. Looks fab!
    Rebecca – that’s why I love food so much :-) There’s always a second chance

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    oh wow great meal and love that in cooking you can keep on perfecting dishes

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    You take such great pictures. Have you seen this web site — http://www.rouxbe.com. I have been using it to learn how to cook new dishes, including steak. Last night, I cooked hamburger like a steak (it was all we had 😉 and made a great sauce to go along with it.

    Reply

  • October 26, 2009 at 9:21 AM

    Thanks for this never to fail recipe!! Thanks for those useful tips as well!

    I rarely eat steack.

    Reply

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