Saturday, 9 March 2013

Simple Steak

We are a family of carnivores! Everyone in my family loves a tender, juicy steak, with or without toppings such as mushrooms, seafood, onions, etc.
The best steaks are very simple. You MUST start with top quality beef or bison, and a very good cut of meat, and then cook it with a little salt and pepper to your prefered doneness. Most of our family like steaks rare or blue. Some people think we are barbarians, but hey - we like what we like with no excuses. When Luc was in NB with the army he had some friends over for a BBQ. When they saw his steaks they told him "That is barbaric." Luc replied, "NO it isn't. Barbaric is standing in a field, and as the cow runs by cut a chunk off and eat it still warm!" Of course we would never do such a thing, but we definately like our steaks on the rare side. Wil even likes 'Steak Tartare', which I don't want to eat. If you are not familiar with the term 'tartare' it means RAW!

Tops choices for making good steaks are strip loin - aka New York, prime rib, T-bone, or sirloin. I do buy the more expensive cut occasionally, especially if they are on sale for a good price, but usually I cook top sirloin steaks. I sometimes have the butcher cut them for me, as many times the steaks in the meat counter are too thin. If a steak is less than an inch thick, it cooks too quickly, and get tough. These cuts can be grilled, broiled, or pan fried and each way of cooking has it's own pros and cons. Of course, our favourite all time steak is the one cooked over a bed of real coals - gas grills are okay, but old fashioned coals provide a flavour all their own.

What you need: 200 - 400 gr steak per person; freshly ground black pepper, salt. An option to regular salt and pepper is a commercial mix like 'Montreal Steak Spice'.

What you do:
If cooking on a BBQ or gas grill, brush grill with a small amount of oil, or spray the grill with non-stick spray before heating. Get BBQ or grill preheated. If using your broiler, preheat the broiler for about 8 minutes.
If cooking in a frying pan, use a stainless steel, aluminum, or cast iron pan, as non-stick pans can not be heated hot enough for searing steak. Heat a small amount of oil or margarine until nearly at smoking point - do not use olive oil as it will burn before getting to the heat needed.

  Sprinkle steak with pepper and a light sprinkle of salt. Place on the heated grill or in the pan. Cook a few minutes and turn over. Cook a few minutes more, or until done to your liking. This is the most tricky part. Wil always says " You can ask for what ever you like, but you get what you get." 

Cooking Times:
For blue rare  - about 1-2 minutes per side. (Actually Ben says, " put in on count to 3 turn it over count to 3 and take it off.)
For rare - about 4 mintes per side.
For medium rare - 5-7 minutes per side.
For more cooked, I don't know the times, as we never have anyone who wants medium to well done steaks.

Such classics as pan fried onions or mushrooms are easy to do. Just wash, slice and fry in butter until done. Add to cooked steak. As an option for this, check out the recipe for Wil's Special Mushrooms on an earlier post.

Steak Oscar: cook chopped shrimp, scallops, and/or crab meat in a little butter, then add some onion, garlic, and chopped parsley. Place a generous Tbs on each cooked steak.

Chopped cooked bacon is also a great topping for steaks.

Many things go well with steaks, baked potatoes are usually served with them at restaurants, but you can also serve noodles, or pasta (lasagna and spaghetti come to mind), or rice dishes. Any vegetable or salad dish also goes well with steak. Then again, Ben like to have with his steak - more steak. He would be happy to eat only meat - but that is not the healthiest choice.

Good luck.  Have fun and enjoy.

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