Steak — restaurant style

Great food ideas from Michael O’Meara of Oscar’s Bistro

You want to cook the finest, juiciest, and best tasting steak of all time. Steak being so simple to cook in a funny way leads it to a great steak being difficult to perfect. The English and French approach the seasoning of the meat in completely different ways. In France the meat is seasoned when raw; this allows a better penetration of the salt into the meat, which will increase flavour. The English argue that the meat should be seared and then seasoned as not to draw out any excess moisture, leaving the meat more on the juicy side and with a better caramelised surface. I follow both rules, seasoning one side when raw and the other (the side I will be presenting the meat ) seared.

The single most important part of cooking a steak is getting the best possible beef. In my case that’s prime Irish grass fed Hereford society heifer beef. Aberdeen Angus is also good, as is Wadakin. Good quality beef should be bright red (not dull, as this poor colouration is caused mainly by oxidation ) and slightly firm to the touch with a pleasant sweet smell. Good fat distribution, or marbling, is also important. Now that you have you beef right, onto the cooking.

I like to char-grill my beef over an open grill often using fresh herbs on the coals to give a light smoky flavour. This picture was taken during service and the steak was sold to a paying customer. Before cooking the beef remove it from refrigeration for a few minutes, as if the meat is too cold it will be more difficult to cook evenly. Season the meat as I mentioned earlier. Pre-heat a thick based pan and sear the steak seasoning well (steak can take a lot more salting than is often realised, great for flavour, maybe not for blood pressure ). Finish depending on how you wish to cook the steak — in a hot oven only if you wish to cook the beef beyond medium, while turning throughout the cookery process so as not to allow the beef char too much on any one side. It’s important to allow the beef to rest for five to 10 minutes before serving as this will relax the meat, making the end product far better.

The traditional sauce to serve with a steak is a compound butter. This is without doubt one of the simplest ways in which to make a sauce. A few simple butters may include:

Garlic butter

100 gram soft butter

2 -3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

20 grams parsley, chopped fine

Simply blend all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, allow melt over the freshly cooked steak just before serving.

Quick pepper sauce

2 shallots, chopped fine

100 ml red wine

50 ml cream

Freshly cracked black peppercorns (use according to taste )

After cooking the steaks remove from the pan, add the shallots and colour lightly, add the red wine and reduce by three quarters, add the black pepper depending on how strong you like your sauce, add the cream, and reduce the sauce until it thickens.

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