Picking the Perfect Steak

Sirloin Steak

Different people have different ideas about what the perfect steak should be like. However, there are a few basic principles, which if adhered to, should ensure that you pick a steak of genuine excellence.

 

Cut of Beef

 

The first thing to think about is which cut of beef you’d like for your steak. There are many different cuts that different retailers will sell as a steak of one sort or another, but if you want a satisfyingly meaty experience then you want a cut from the short loin, tenderloin or rib. These are muscles that don’t get a lot of exercise and are therefore very tender.

The tender nature of these cuts makes them perfect for grilling or broiling, unlike the more muscular cuts of beef that need to be cooked using moist heat (for example, boiling) to release their flavour. If you were to grill a piece of brisket for your steak then it would end up chewy and tough.

 

Marbling of Meat

 

The next thing to think about is the marbling of the piece of meat that you are looking at. Marbling is caused by the small pockets of fat that occur between the muscles of the beef. It gives the meat flavour, so a cut with more marbling will generally be more expensive than one with less.

 

Dry-aged Beef

 

Ideally, you want a steak from a piece of dry-aged beef. Most supermarkets won’t stock this, so you’ll need to look for a quality butcher like Donald Russell. Wet-aged beef is hung in vacuum bags with keeps the moisture in. Dry-aged beef is hung in a controlled freezer and the moisture is allowed to evaporate which improves the quality of the meat.

 

Thickness of the Cut

 

Finally, you need to specify the thickness of the cut. Less than 1″ is too thin, more than 2″ is too thick. An inch and a half is about right.

 

Beef Steak Recipes

 

Here are some beef steak recipes for your next meal consisting of beef (courtesy of Donald Russell and Stefan Kolsch):

Recommended Steak Cooking Time Guide For The Followng Recipes
Cooking Time (per side)Resting TimeTotal Cooking Time
Rare1-2 Minutes6-8 Minutes10 Minutes
Medium3 Minutes4 Minutes10 Minutes
Well Done4.5 Minutes1 Minute10 Minutes

 

Sirloin Steaks with Green Beans and Parsley Butter

 

Sirloin Steaks with Green Beans and Parsley Butter

SERVINGS: 2, COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

You Will Need:

Salt
150g French Green Beans
4 rashers Streaky Bacon
2 Sirloin Steaks
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Pepper
Butter
10g Fresh Parsley (chopped)

Directions:

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil on the hob and blanch the beans for 5-6 minutes, or until they are slightly softened. Remove from the pan and refresh in a bowl of iced water. Drain and divide into four equal bundles then wrap a rasher of bacon around each bundle so that they are held together, set aside.

Allow the meat to come to room temperature and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Brush the steaks all over with olive oil and cook to your liking. Remove from the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on a rack, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for the recommended time.

Return the pan to the hob over a medium heat and add half the butter. Sear the bundles of beans for 2-3 minutes, turning regularly. Season to taste with pepper and arrange with the steaks on preheated plates. Add the parsley to the pan with the remaining butter and heat through, drizzle over the steaks.

Serve with chunky, home-made chips.

 

Sesame and Pepper Seared Fillet Medallions

 

Sesame and Pepper Seared Fillet Medallions

SERVINGS: 4, COOKING TIME: 25 MINS

You Will Need:

4 Fillet Medallions
20g Sesame Seeds
5g Black Pepper (crushed)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
10g Butter

For the Leek and Cream Sauce;
400g Leek (white part only- cut into thin slices)
100ml Double Cream
100ml Chicken Stock
50mls White Wine
10g Parmesan (grated)
Salt

Directions:

Begin by making the leek and cream sauce. Place the leek, cream, stock and wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, then add the parmesan and season to taste with salt. Set aside and keep warm.

Allow the meat to come to room temperature and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat the oil and butter together in a large frying pan, over a high heat. Combine the sesame seeds and pepper and press the mixture onto each side of the medallions, covering to your liking. Using the table below as a guide, cook the medallions to your liking. Remove from the pan, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for the recommended time.

Arrange the rested medallions on preheated plates with the leek and cream sauce.

 

Ribeye Steaks With Seared Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary

 

Ribeye Steaks With Seared Cherry Tomatoes and Rosemary

SERVINGS: 2, COOKING TIME: 15 MINS

You Will Need:

2 Ribeye Steaks
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
300-400g Cherry Tomatoes
4 sprigs Rosemary

Directions:

Allow the meat to come to room temperature and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, brush the steaks all over with olive oil and cook to your liking. Remove from the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place on a rack, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for the recommended time.

Return the pan to the hob over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Add the tomatoes to the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Break the rosemary into pieces and add to the pan, sear for a further minute, then season to taste with pepper and arrange with the steaks on preheated plates.

Serve with hot baked potatoes and soured cream.

 

Rump Medallions with Apple, Asparagus and Mint Salad

 

Rump Medallions with Apple, Asparagus and Mint Salad

SERVINGS: 2, COOKING TIME: 10 MINS

You Will Need:

4 Rump Medallions
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Apple, Asparagus and Mint Salad:

2tbsp Walnut Oil
1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
1 tsp Mustard e.g. Dijon
1 pinch Sugar
2 firm Apples e.g. Granny Smith /Gala (cored and cut into thin slices)
100g Asparagus (blanched and cut into bite sized pieces)
10-16 Fresh Mint leaves

Directions:

Allow the meat to come to room temperature and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, over a high heat. Cook the medallions to your liking, remove from the pan, season with salt and pepper, cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place on a rack for the recommended time.

For the salad, combine the walnut oil, vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix carefully; season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, divide the salad between two plates and place the medallions on top.

Serve with sweet potatoes, or some fresh crusty bread.

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