The Perfect Steak
Our London City & Guilds Chef Paul Edge continues his series with a close up look at how to prepare and cook the perfect steak.
Take the meat out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before cooking. This allows it to come to room temperature and ensures even cooking.
Pat with paper towels, making sure the outside of the meat is as dry as possible before frying. If you want to cut the fat off the steak, do it once it’s cooked as fat adds flavour and moisture to the meat while it’s cooking. Brush the steaks with oil and season all over with a little salt and pepper.
Preheat a large frying pan (or BBQ) to a high heat. If using a frying pan, the heavier the base, the better – heavy-based pans hold heat longer and cook the meat evenly.
It’s important not to overcrowd the pan or BBQ, or the meat will stew rather than sear. Cook the steak in batches or use two pans if need be. You should hear a big sizzle when the steak hits the pan – no sizzle means the pan isn’t hot enough.
As a rule of thumb for a steak 22mm thick – cook 2 minutes each side for rare, 3-4 mins each side for medium-rare and 4-6 mins each side for medium. For well done, cook for 2-4 minutes each side, then turn the heat down and cook for another 4-6 minutes.
To check if ready , I find it easiest to use the tip of your clean index finger (or tongs) to gently prod the steak. If the steak is soft and squishy, it’s rare. If it’s soft but a bit springy, that’s medium-rare. If it’s springy, that’s medium. Any firmer than that and it’s on its way to well done.
Place the steaks onto a wooden board or plate, cover loosely with foil and rest for about 6-7 minutes before slicing across the grain or serving. Resting will allow the meat to relax, and the juices will return to the meat fibres. This means the juices won’t run out on to the plate when you cut the steak – and results in more tender steak.