Steak a claim – Virgil Evetts

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I’ve been indulging in more than a little bovine excess of late. Pity my poor arteries. For various reasons,  many of my Best Beloveds colleagues have been abandoning their posts lately , so she’s been out every other night at some farewell do or another, leaving me to cook a bit of whatever I fancy, and just lately I’ve been totally crushing on steak.  Dear Best Beloved doesn’t do stand -alone meat, so I can only indulge in the forbidden flesh [so to speak] if she’s off supping elsewhere.

Right now I’m vacillating between scotch fillet and New York-cut sirloin and just can’t decide which I prefer. The scotch fillets is almost meltingly tender, but very mild on the palate, where as the sirloin is a little more toothsome but makes up for it with a real depth of flavour. Oh, but of course the sirloin also has that luscious band of fat…

Anyway, my own philosophy about steak, is keep it simple. Very simple. I always buy my steak from my local butcher. This way I can choose the specific piece I want rather than the ’you’ll get what your given‘ results of the supermarket. I dust the meat liberally with ground white pepper and salt and then leave it to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking.  Chilled meat can cool the pan, resulting in a tough mouthful. BTW- oil the meat, not the pan.

Unless I’m lucky enough to have some of that stupefyingly good [and cripplingly expensive] wagyu beef, which is best served rare, if not raw, I always go for medium-rare with my steak. This gives the best balance of flavour and texture in my opinion. I realise however that steak cooking preferences are a highly controversial topic and we’ll get to that shortly…

In terms of accompaniments, I stick with the whole simplicity theme. The only sauce- if you can call it a sauce- that I allow anywhere near my steak is herb butter- nothing more than crushed fresh thyme or oregano, and a little garlic  mashed into lots of butter. I normally pair the meat with a crispy potato galette – you know the sort of thing- grated and squeezed potato pressed into a thin cake and fried in a well oiled pan. Rather like a hash brown I guess.

And finally, bringing a little piquancy to the whole affair, I’ve recently stumbled upon a clever little mushroom salad- of sorts.

Soak a good handful of dried shitake in warm water for about an hour.  Squeeze out the excess water and slice very thinly. Now dress with a little rice vinegar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli and salt. Mix thoroughly and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes. This has just the right mix of spicy, sharp, nutty and earthy flavours to complement the flagrant masculinity of the meat. It was one of those great little discoveries, born out of an almost empty pantry one night not so long ago. Even if you don’t have it with steak, give this one a go.

Anyway, I’m not quite sure where I was going with this… Mostly just a desire to share my current joy for a nice piece of meat with others who might appreciate it. It’s a joy that falls on profoundly deaf ears in my house.

Everybody of a meat eating persuasion has pretty big opinions about steak, so let’s have a bit of a vote; Sirloin or fillet? Rare, medium-rare, medium or well done?

Until next time…


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14 thoughts on “Steak a claim – Virgil Evetts

  1. Have made Virgil’s mushroom salad and has the beautiful flavous he noted Am tempted to add the salad to a pan of just cooked shallots and heating through before spreading over a steak.
    Steak — fillet
    Cook — medium rare

  2. The rain kind of ruined any puha hunting last weekend and unfoutunatly it never stands a chance in my garden as we pick for the chickens whenever we find it.
    I’ll go for wander up North head this weekend- usually plenty of puha, fennel, chicory and other wild herbs up there.

  3. Puha is bitter when it flowers. Really sour. Buds are ok. It’s the degree of sourness and what you remember about your mother boiling it hard no doubt with the lid off, well that’s how you cook it to rid that bitterness. As a rule in a boil up it has to be soft but for the steak it’s slightly crisp. And how did you do?

  4. I’ll be on the puha scrounge this weekend!
    Is puha like lettuce in that it only becomes really bitter after it bolts?

  5. When I come across the leafy puha – not often, I pull off the leaves and treat it just like spinach, well washed, blanched for one minutes, the moisture squeezed out and then chopped. You can do the rinsing and rubbing of puha with the stalks and it’s just as good, but I prefer just the leaves for steak. And Virgil, if you haven’t tried puha with garlic… what I’d give to see your face.

  6. T-bone for me everytime. I love gnawing bones ! I always cook and eat steak at home, never ordering at a restaurant. I cannot eat any meat that has even a vestige of pinkness about it and chefs get so very precious/indignant when I ask for my steak to be EXTRA well done. They just cannot bring themselves to cook it for that length of time.

  7. Love your style Hoana!
    I love puha- the slight bitterness and deep flavour would work fabulously with scotch fillet.
    How do you pre-cook your puha? My mother has always cooked it for me- lots of boiling and rubbing involved as I recall.

  8. I am a scotch fillet fan and I love it medium rare. Once the steak comes out of the pan, I add olive oil and thin slices of garlic, when the garlic starts to sizzle I throw in a big handful of blanched, squeezed and chopped puha leaves until heated through and seasoned it comes out of the pan. Two minutes max. Fabulous!

  9. I have recently discovered the Tournedo steak – thanks to a visiting french chef. We used a rib eye although you can also use a fillet. All the fat, grisle and bits are taken out of it and so you end up with a fat free tender-as morsel which is so tender. Not the cheapest of cuts, but worth splurging on for special occasions. Our meat comes from Harris Meats who use North Canterbury beef – fabulous flavour.

  10. I tend to buy Sirloin or Scotch Fillet and cook to Medium Rare. I prefer these cuts to Fillet I think. I often make a pan type sauce while the meat is resting. I try and purchase 80% of meat from the butcher and will not purchase supermarket steak. For us it is a once a month type meal and worth waiting for.