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…