Finally! I said I would get to my favorite, most amazing and delicious American steaks and now I have done. If you’ve ever been to the UK, you probably know that the steaks there are very different from steaks in the States. First of all, all beef is grass fed, not grain fed, which makes them taste differently with more of a game-y flavor. Second, steaks are 99% of the time cut to be less than 1/2 inch thick. Which is a problem, because then when you ask for medium, you get nasty sickly over-done brown on the inside. So, I decided to take steaks into my own hands and make them the proper way.
I found that Selfridge’s on Oxford Street in London carries USDA grain-fed steaks at the butcher counter called Macken Brothers http://mackenbros.co.uk/ in the food hall, which is where I go to get all of my steaks. They also have a location in Turnham Green, which is in the Chiswick part of London, which is where I live. So it is super convenient and super great. I always ask for my steaks to be cut between 1 1/2 and 2 inches thick, and they gladly oblige. Now these were NOT cheap…at all. For two steaks I spent around £25, which is about $40. It’s much cheaper when you don’t have to ship it across an ocean 🙂 And we mustn’t forget that we’re also using more of the veg box we got with the fresh green beans, which are coated in the pan drippings from our steak. Yummo!
Ingredients: Serves 2
2 USDA Prime Sirloin or Tenderloin (Filet) Steaks, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse sea salt or sea salt flakes
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pats
1/2 pound fresh green beans
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or more to taste
Remove steaks from fridge an hour before you plan to eat so they can come to room temperature before cooking. Coat in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper liberally on all sides, to taste. It takes more salt than you might think, but it really makes all the difference after it’s cooked. It’s hard to tell from the picture below as the salt and pepper have disappeared into the oil.
After the steaks are at room temp, heat your oven to 500°F broil. Heat a heavy bottomed pan or cast iron skillet over high heat for at least a minute. Sprinkle some water into pan and if it dances around, then you know it’s ready to go. Set steaks in without crowding and let cook for two minutes on each side over the same high heat. Don’t worry, they aren’t burning.
Be sure to brown the short sides as well by holding them with tongs for a few moments on the hot pan. Top each steak with the 1 tablespoon pats of butter and place the pan in the oven and cook for 4-5 minutes for medium rare. If you like it more or less done, adjust accordingly. I did mine a little bit more in these pictures as my mom won’t eat steak medium rare (which is the proper way to eat steak)…
Secret tip for knowing when the steaks are done without cutting into them and without using a meat thermometer: Relax your left hand out, not clenching. Using the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, press the fleshy pad of skin between your thumb and forefinger of your left, non-clenching hand and notice how it feels. It should be very soft and pliable, not tough. This is what rare meat feels like when you push on it; very springy. Now do the same thing but clench the fist of you left hand. Notice how the fleshy pad feels very tough? That’s what well-done meat feels like. So to test your steaks, use this technique. If you like it medium, make sure if feels less soft than a rare steak but not nearly as tough as a well-done one. Also keep in mind that the temperature of the steak will rise by about 5 degrees after you remove it from the heat, so don’t over cook it, whatever you do.
Now remove the steaks from the pan and onto a plate, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Don’t you dare cut them before this, otherwise all the juices fall out and the steak is no bueno.
Now for the green beans. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Trim off the ends of the beans.
Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately submerge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the lovely bright green color. Remove from ice water and set aside.
Now the pan you cooked the steak in should still be piping hot (be careful with that handle. Seriously, I have burned myself so many times grabbing the handle of something just in a 500° oven. Wear mitts!), so set on the stove top and add the 1 tablespoon butter and the chopped garlic to the remaining beef drippings. Let soften for about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and let sizzle for a few seconds.
Toss the green beans in the pan with the garlic butter drippings to warm. Serve immediately with the steak, adding more lemon juice to the beans if desired (which, of course, I did).