The Perfect Steak

Steak with a glass of Shiraz…the ideal mid-week pick me up.  I feel as though, in life, you have to take your pleasures where you can get them and when you’re experiencing the madness of a crazy week, retreating home to a wonderfully cooked steak and glass of vino is just the way.  And last night we did just that.  Perfectly cooked steak with herbed butter, pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes and lemony salad leaves.

Herbed butter and steak is a match made in culinary heaven, they work so wonderfully together.  The moment you dollop the butter onto the cooked steak it immediately begins to melt, carrying with it the flavours of lemon, capers, rosemary, garlic, thyme…whatever you have decided to spike the butter with and it’s gorgeous.  It makes a juicy steak even more so and adds flavor along the way.  Herbed butter is also very easy to prepare, you simply add finely chopped herbs, garlic, lemon, anchovies, capers…anything you like really, mix through the butter and voila your sauce is ready!

My other steak must have is potatoes!  And last night I opted for pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes.  They were everything a potato should be, crisp, golden and crunchy on the outside and soft, fluffy and light in the middle.  I also added some shallots and whole garlic cloves to the pan of bubbling butter and wow, by the time the spuds were done the shallots and garlic had imparted their entire flavor and caramelised to absolute perfection and they were so sweet!  I also added thyme and parsley to the cooked spuds for extra flavor and to freshen up the dish.

And finally, for a flourish of angelic goodness…my lemony salad leaves.  To me, a plate is not finished until it has some greeny goodness on it and this salad fit the bill perfectly.  The leaves were crisp, fresh and slightly peppery (thanks to the rocket leaves) and were coated in the perfect amount of lemony vinaigrette.  The only problem I have with salad is getting Rob to eat it…he claims he must forgo the greens as they take up vital stomach room that is better off occupied by steak or potato.  Ah, I used to put so much extra thought and effort into creating the perfect vinaigrette thinking this would sway Rob into eating salad but it never worked.  I guess in the words of one wise man (Homer Simpson) 'you don't win friends with salad!'
These are my tips to cooking the perfect steak at home…
1.       Take your steaks out of the fridge twenty minutes prior to cooking, this will ensure the meat stays tender and juicy.  And your steaks will cook quicker!
2.       Make sure your frying pan is hot, very hot (almost smoking) and do not add oil/grease to the pan, this will only result in smoking out your kitchen and in one flustered cook.
3.       Season the steak on both sides with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and rub a little olive oil over the meat.    
4.       Place the steak in the frying pan and do not touch until it is time to turn.  This of course, depends on how you like your steak cooked.  For a standard sized steak (2-3 centimeters thick)…rare usually takes 2-3 minutes, medium 4-5 minutes  and well done 5-6 minutes each side.
5.       Turn your steak once, more turns will result in dry meat and no one likes a dry, tough, grey steak.
6.       Use tongs for turning the steak.  Using a fork and piercing the meat will result in all of those gorgeous meat juices being lost.
7.       When you think your steak is done simply press the meat to see how ‘bouncy’ or resistant it is.  The steak will feel quite soft if it is cooked rare, slightly springy and a little firmer when medium and very firm with little resistance when well-done.
8.       Rest your meat.  Transfer the steak to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes, this will allow the meat to relax and juices to distribute evenly though out the meat resulting in a perfect, juicy and tender steak.
9.       Plate up with your favourite sides, perhaps a simply dressed salad or roast potatoes and enjoy with a glass of shiraz!
Enjoy K x

Steak with herbed butter, pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes and mixed leaf salad w lemon vinaigrette.
2 portions of rib eye steak
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes
3 large desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
6 small shallots
3 garlic cloves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp butter
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp parsley - finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Herbed Butter
150g butter, softened
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp capers, chopped
1 anchovy, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Mixed Leaf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
300g of mixed leaves
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp mustard

Herbed butter
Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.  Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
Pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes
Place potatoes in large pot of salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Drain.  Heat the oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and add potato, shallots and garlic shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they are cooked evenly.  Once cooked add butter, thyme, parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Mixed Leaf Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Combine oil, lemon juice and mustard in a jar and shake to combine.  When ready to serve, place mixed leaves and chives in bowl and toss well with the vinaigrette.
Heat frying pan to very high heat.  Brush rib eye with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.   Place steak in frying pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on first side (depending on how you like it cooked), turn once and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.  Remove steak from pan and place on plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 3-4 minutes.  Serve with herbed butter, pan fried thyme and parsley potatoes and mixed leaf salad.

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