Mmm, there’s nothing I like better than a hunk of juicy, tender meat. I got these two honkin’ pieces of New York strip at the market where I now work, which is great because these weighty beauties only cost me $14 for both of them. Amazing! I love discounts, they make me feel special. The steaks were fresh, perfectly marbled, and almost two inches thick. $14 is a steal, considering the cut and quality of meat.
Some people like their steaks fancy, all marinated with dijon and rosemary. Others like it plain and simple, just a bit of salt and pepper and you’re ready to go. Me, I think there’s nothing better on a steak than Montreal Steak Spice. I can stick my nose in a container of it and smell it all day. I can eat a whole cow, raw, covered in this steak spice. I can eat this all day, e’eryday. Preparing steak is so easy that it’s almost a crime. If you don’t have time, just sprinkle some of this stuff on prior to grilling. I had some time before I had to cook the meat, so I put it on (I like a lot of it), threw some olive oil on top, and rubbed it lightly into the meat, working it in with my fingers. I covered it in saran wrap and threw it into the fridge to let it mellow until I was ready for it.
There are just a few general guidelines for making a good steak. It’s just such a versatile thing, and a simple steak is so easy to do.
- Get your steak to room temperature (or close to it at least) before cooking. This will make sure that you get a good sear on it, and nice and pink on the inside without it being cold.
- Get your pan (or grill) hot hot hot before throwing the steak on top. Melt a little butter, or olive oil, whichever, but make sure to not burn the butter.
- Put your steak into the pan. Sear on one side, 2-3 minutes, depending on how rare you like your steak. I like mine bloody, so if you like it a bit medium, leave it in for longer. After 2-3 minutes, check the bottom of your steak to see if you’ve got a good texture, flip, JUST ONCE, and sear for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. You only need to flip your steak once. Don’t go fiddling around.
- For God’s sake, do NOT take a knife and cut the middle to check for doneness. All this will do is let all the sweet juices run into the pan and wasted forever. Instead, use a warm spoon (or your fingers, depending on how hardcore you are) and press into the middle of the steak. The tenderness of this part will tell you how done it is. The softer it is, the rarer it is. It takes a little experience for you to get the hang of this, but there is a handy trick to it (analogies via MensHealth. You can find pictures there too).
Touch your thumb and pinky together, and poke the inside pad (by the palm) of your thumb. It should feel hard and springy, like a tennis ball. This is well done.
Touch your thumb and ring finger together. The pad feels like a racquetball. This is medium.
Thumb and middle finger together, the pad feels like a nerf ball. Medium rare.
Thumb and pointer together, feels like a sponge. This is rare.
- If you’re scared of burning your steak, but want it well done. Get the fuck out of here. This is no place for a well done steak. I kid. But not really. Anyway, you can cook the steak to as well as you’re comfortable, then take it off the pan or grill, put it onto a warm plate and tent it with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. This will allow the steak to soak up the warmth inside and continue to cook. You can also just take the entire pan, with the steak inside and put it into the oven for a few minutes. But seriously, you should get over the whole well done steak thing, because a medium rare/rare steak is the perfect way to go. It’s just so much more flavourful and juicy. Mmm.
- One of the most important things to do after you take your steak out of the pan is to let it rest for a few minutes before cutting into it. This will allow all the beautiful steak juices, which have centralized into the middle of the steak, to redistribute and spread back out into each corner of the steak, ensuring a juicy bite in each piece.
- Something you can do if you wanna get a little extra-fancy (I didn’t): After you cook your steak, you may have a bit of oil and meat juice and beef extras lightly caramelized on your pan. You can take about half a cup of cooking sherry, or red wine (leave your white wines for the fish and chicken), stock, or even some water, into your pan, and then use something to scrape off the bits at the bottom. You can cook it down till it’s thicker, and pour it on top of your steak, or add some butter and herbs, simmer till it thickens, to make a fancier sauce. Go crazy. Add some freshly cracked pepper if you want, I would probably forgo the salt though. You can actually do this for any kind of meat or saute or whatever. Though, I would only recommend doing this if 1. you’ve got a non-stick pan and 2. the little bits aren’t burnt, because this will only make for a bitter sauce.
These are just some general common knowledge tips, but are invaluable if you’re a steak noob.
I paired my steak with a mushroom and crouton salad. I don’t like mushrooms, but Ervin does, so I braved the waters, and this recipe lessens the overall mushroom taste, or maybe I just like the taste of mushrooms now, I don’t know. But I sautéed the mushrooms with a bit of oil and garlic. I bought a nice rustic country loaf, cut it into little cubes and stirred it in until it was a bit crispy. It’s an incredibly easy recipe that’s hard to mess up. The full recipe can be found here. I left out the parsley because of my incredibly picky guest. HA.
I also attempted to make thinly sliced, fried onion strings, like at the Keg. I kind of rivered the recipe, just throwing in a bunch of ingredients that I thought was right. Basically, I used some flour, mixed with salt and paprika, as my dry base. I sliced some onions really thin, dipped them in the flour mix, and deep fried them. They turned out pretty nice. Except for that one batch at the end where I left the pot of oil on the burner for an extra 30 seconds while I did something else. Yeah, don’t do that. The oil got too hot, and when I went to put on the last batch of onions, it burned up instantly and blew smoke into my badly ventilated apartment. I went ghetto 151 Queen Street style (shoutouts to my Hamilton homies. HAAAA) and had to frantically fan to smoke alarm with a pillow, trying so hard to make sure it doesn’t go off and evacuate the entire building. I put the pot outside on the balcony overnight because it scared me.
Other than that little incident, I would declare this dinner a delicious, delicious success. Mmm… I’m hoping for a recreation soon.