The king of ingredients, a good steak is unbeatable. Moist, tender and full of flavour, steaks are rare treats that take a moment to cook but a lifetime to master.
Know your cuts
There are three steaks everyone must know. First up is the rib eye. Rib eye is a relatively fatty cut that has plenty of marbling, which gives the meat huge flavour intensity. Second is the filet steak. Cut from an area of the cow that does next to no work, the filet is the tenderest steak, having a buttery texture and little to no fat. Third is the Porterhouse, which is the filet steak and another steak form – the New York strip – both attached to each side of a bone. The Porterhouse is really the king of steaks because diners are presented with two equally wonderful texture, taste and tenderness profiles.
Cook it right
Let’s be honest, when the vast majority of us go into a steak restaurant and are asked how we’d like our steak done, we just have a punt. Medium? Yeah, that sounds about right. But how your steak is cooked actually makes a huge difference to the experience. The key stages to know are rare, medium and well done. A rare steak has really just been seared and will be cooked outside but red and still cool on the inside. The inside of a medium steak will have a band of pink in the middle, but will be mostly cooked. A well-done steak will be brown or grey all the way through and pretty charred on the outside – but, if done well it’ll be cooked slowly so as not to dry out the meat.
Pair it with a good sauce
A good steak doesn’t necessarily need a sauce, but sauces can bring out flavour combinations that meat alone cannot manage. The five sauces it’s worth knowing are:
Peppercorn, which combines a good heat of pepper with soothing onions and cream.
Béarnaise, made from whisked egg yolks, wine, tarragon, vinegar and melted butter.
Diane, a combination of mushrooms onion, garlic, butter and brandy. Warm, delicate, and thick.
Chimichurri, a more modern sauce that’s packed full of herbs to bring out the beef’s flavour.
Salsa verde, rich with basil, mint, parsley, garlic and capers.
Let the steak rest
It’s tempting when making a steak to just cut straight in. That is 100% the wrong thing to do. When you take the steak out of the pan it needs to rest – which just means sitting on the side. While this happens, the residual heat in the steak will finish cooking the meat, and, more importantly, the juices in the steak will be reabsorbed a bit, making the steak more tender.
Get a master to cook it for you
Probably the best thing to do is to get a real master to cook it for you. Steaks are hard to get right and a pretty expensive thing to screw up at home! So, let a professional cook it for you. Great offerings in Singapore include Steakville, who do all the classics, and the Hashtag Café, who do a killer rib eye.