Nov 27, 2012

The Perfect Steak

By the way, that pink stuff you see is fig-rosemary mustard. Delicious!

The Perfect Steak. When I wrote the title to this post I wasn't sure if I should make it come off as a statement or a question, "The Perfect Steak?" or "The Perfect Steak". Hmm, well enough of my random ramblings and let me just get to the point. 

In life, one has ambitious shiny goals and aspirations. As a child up till adulthood, we dream. Ride a bike, learn how to swim, kiss your classroom crush, learn how to fly (wishful thinking), travel the world, learn a new language, run a marathon, run for president, write a book, have a romance with a superhero (Batman would be my choice), be the next Steve Jobs, so on and so forth. 

Well, you want to know what's on my thou-shall-master-a-skill list? Learn how to make the perfect steak. Damn right, that's one of the goals I have in life! And to my vegetarian and vegan friends, apologies in advance. With that said, anyone who shares this common goal with me (could you be my soulmate?) knows that there are many schools of thoughts around this matter. One that I got intrigued by is from the genial Heston Blumenthal. Known for his multi-sensory techniques, I figured it would be worth checking out his approach. And fear not, his perfect-steak recipe is nothing intimidating (unlike 99% of his other recipes). Actually, if you want to give it a try I'd recommend you watch this video beforehand. His logic is super interesting and convincing enough. All I needed at this point was to go find myself a well marbled, flavourful piece of steak.
Here's a nice piece of rib-eye. I let it out for a few hours at room temperature before brushing with oil and seasoning with salt only (no pepper).
The next step is to heat a solid pan (you need to use the heavy-duty stuff here) for at least five minutes. No grease goes into the pan. It should just be ridiculously hot. Then once you've placed the steak, you'll need to flip it every 15-20 seconds (this is a controversial part as many traditional recipes call for flipping a steak once or twice at most). The idea here is that the steak will develop a flavorsome exterior while maintaining a tender interior. Something about a Maillard reaction. Google it. 
Then, 2-3 minutes later of steak flipping, it is ready if you like it medium-rare. Before slicing it up however, let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This helps retain the juices so you can enjoy bites of tender meat. 
The other big question is- what to eat with the steak? Fries? Rice? Vegetables? For me, it will be a simple arugula salad with some sun dried tomatoes. I like the crisp peppery freshness it brings and allows me to enjoy and focus on the steak's greatness.

Heston Blumenthal's Perfect Steak

Olive Oil
Sirloin or Rib-Eye steak
A solid pan (cast-iron pan if you have one)

Buy the meat. Remove from packaging, place on a dish and allow to "breathe" uncovered in the fridge for 2 days. When ready to cook, remove steak from fridge and allow to rest at room temperature for a few hours. 

Now, cooking time. But before anything else, open the windows! Don't ask why- just do it! Heat a pan for a good five minutes. In the meantime, rub the meat with oil and season with salt. Place the meat on the pan and flip every 15-20 seconds for a total cooking time of 3 minutes for medium rare. Remove from pan and allow steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing up. Season with pepper if desired. Serve with side dish of choice. Enjoy!

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