"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Nope. Just give me steak.
I am personally a rib eye girl. My husband enjoys a good NY strip. Whatever part of the cow calls to you, the truth is most meat eaters really just want a really good piece of steak from time to time. And since I just so happened to find myself cooking steak for my life on Food Network Star recently, I thought we would tackle the whole steak journey here.
Gone are the days where my husband and I thought grilling steak was the best way to go. We still do it from time to time, bust our the grill and just hang out as the aroma of steak wafts through the yard. But truthfully, if it is a steakhouse quality, knock your socks off kind of steakis your quest, then butter basting it in a screaming hot cast iron skillet is the way to go.
I was reaaaaalllly hoping they would have the whole Monty Python GIF... but this is all they have.
Q: "What is your name?"
A: "My name is Sir Lancelot of Camelot."
Q: "What is your quest"
A: "To seek the Holy Grail" (Our for our purposes, make a bomb as steak. Who said Lancelot wasn't seeking that as well anyway?)
Q: "What is your favorite color?"
"Right then, off you go."
We don't even need to get into the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow; African or European.
I maybe have lost some of you on this one. But for those of you I didn't lose, hat (or helmet) off to you! I like you more now. But lets' get back to the steak, because honestly, that bridge keepers face is making me staving. J/K.
Truly phenomenal steak is much easier than one may think. Starting with a quality cut of meat is important, naturally. If you spend a lot of time trying to prepare a great steak, but you have a 1/2" cut of random meat, it just won't be a good steak. It might make a lovely stew, a bbq-ed meat, a sandwich, etc... but not a drool worthy stand a lone piece of meat. This also does not mean that you have to bankrupt your self making dinner. You can find a decent single serve steak for around $12 at your grocery store. Of course you are welcome to roll higher as well, but you don't necessarily have to "go big or go home". Personally, we like to allocate money towards something like a good steak dinner. All I am saying is that there is a range here. Got it? Good talk.
So lets start with some butter basted steak basics.
Steak (hopefully implied).
Butter (to follow the naturally progression).
Aromatics (garlic, shallots).
Herbs that compliment steak (tarragon, thyme, rosemary).
Fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes (because life and steak need a hint of heat).
Now that we have discussed ingredients, we need to talk about technique. The good news is that there isn't a ton. Screaming hot skillet, above mentioned ingredients, some basting with a spoon, flip that meat and repeat. If you have finessed your hand at food, it could be argued that there is a big difference in the fine tuned details. Yes, each time you do this, you get better. You will understand the difference between browned and burnt butter, a perfect crusty sear and just a browning. Go one should make you look like a master. But a few times and you will KNOW you are one.
I made you a video guys! Again, super amateur. But I actually enlisted my husband (she said with a silly girlish smile). Since I like to make a short story long... I am trying to up my video game. So he got me a GoPro Hero 6 for my birthday. Using it means I can't sue phone apps for my editing on my phone shot videos. So now I have to figure out video editing software. I am so challenged in this area it is almost comical. He discovered this today and came to my rescue. So basically, I still ramble a shiz ton in my videos, because well, that is me. But I am learning new tricks and had some assistance. Yay! Sadly, he returns to his lame ass job of being a F-22 Raptor fighter pilot tomorrow, so I guess I am on my own.
The good news about the technical cooking side is the lack of one. This is all about the flavors that you want. A "generous amount of salt" can be interpreted as just that. It is not a precise baking recipe where you need to measure and execute everything with precision.
So sit back, grab some wine or some popcorn and enjoy!
For the Compound Butter/Toast Points:
1 stick + 2 tbsp salted sweet cream butter
5-6 garlic cloves
1/2 a shallot
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 sprig of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of tarragon
1 loaf of sourdough or french bread
1. In a pan, heat up 2 tbsp of butter until melted.
2. Mix in finely minced garlic and shallot.
3. Add salt and red pepper flakes and continue to stir on a medium heat while the butter browns and the garlic/shallot become translucent (6-8 minutes total).
4. FINELY chop up the herbs and continue to stir until they are soft.
5. Add the melted butter mixture to 1/2 cup (1 stick) of room temperature butter.
6. Mix until well blended.
7. Thinly slice bread (1/2" thick) and brush roughly a teaspoon or so only each piece.
8. Put bread on a silicone mat and put it in the oven on broil and toast for 3-4 minutes, watching it closely so that it does not burn.
9. Take the remaining butter and transfer to a shallow plate with a lip or onto a piece of parchment paper. Place the compound butter in the freezer to chill.
10. When you are ready to serve, put roughly 1 tbsp on top of each HOT steak that you cook. The compound butter will melt and continue to add flavor to your meat.
For the Steak:
Steak (of choice, thick cut)
1 stick of butter (more if needed)
5-6 garlic cloves
sea salt (to taste)
a few sprigs of rosemary
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of tarragon
1. In a cast iron skillet, heat up 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter.
2. We are going to pretty much mimic the compound butter flavors, but with the steak. So add your garlic and shallots. They do not need to be as finely chopped. The flavors will cook into the butter, and when you baste the steak with the butter, they will transfer to the steak.
3. Bruise or coarsely chop your herbs. You are just looking for enough pressure/chopping to release the flavors (see video).
4. The butter should be browning (just like your garlic and shallots) and your kitchen should smell fabulous.
5. Crank the heat on your skillet. You want to hear that steak sizzle when you put it in. If your butter or other aromatics seem like they are on the cusp of burning, add a bit more butter.
6. Once the steak is in the skillet, carefully baste it with the butter (see video). Using something to protect your hand from the handle's heat, tip the skillet so that the butter pools to one side. Use a spoon to baste the steak, scooping and pushing it on top and around the sides.
7. If you are a rare-medium rare girl (or boy) like me, you are gong to want to sear your steak for 3ish minutes per side (or until the internal temperature registers at 120-125 degrees). IF you want a more well done steak, cook an additional 2 minutes per side.
8. Allow your meat to rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing. If you cut it too early, the juices will not have been reabsorbed by the steak, you will loose flavor and juiciness. But you will get a runny looking plate. Not a yay factor.
9. Serve the steak with a dollop of compound butter, a toast point and a side of your choice.