Before I begin blabbing about food, let me introduce myself, my name is Seif Allam, and I am no chef, just wanted to get that out there. I’m a home cook, who not so long ago ate boil-in-a-bag rice and instant noodles for dinner more times than I would like to admit.
I would occasionally cook one of my “signature” steaks and be super happy with myself. That was until I got sucked into watching one of the Masterchef shows, and to my dismay, I found out that what I was doing to those beautiful cuts of meat was basically sacrilege, and that stung both me and my ego quite sharply. So what I’m about to share with you here, was my road to redemption.
I think the week after that moment, my wife and I probably ate more steak than we would usually eat in a month (not economical at all). I started reading, watching videos, and trying different methods of cooking to improve my skills. It became a sort of an obsession, which tends to happen to me, but at least this one lead to food. So it’s all good! From there began a two-year journey of recipes, trials, experiments, successes, and failures, but more importantly, lots of amazing food. We ended up eating at home a lot more, which was better both for our health and our pockets. I also started an instagram page where I showed off some of the things I had cooked.
Enough rambling though, let’s get down to business. Steak. First thing you need to know is what cut of meat you’re cooking. I usually go for striploin, as I enjoy the strip of fat on the side when its rendered down and crispy. But this is completely up to you.
The three main concepts that help when cooking almost any meat are searing, basting, and resting.
Searing is the process of placing your meat on high heat, which seals the meat and allows it to retain the moisture inside, keeping it nice and juicy, with a lovely brown crust.
As for basting, it’s a technique that involves coating your meat while cooking it with either fat (oil/butter), sauce, or its own juices. This keeps the meat moist and enhances its flavor.
When it comes to resting, many tend to skip this step. However, if you allow your steak to rest for a while, the meat will become more tender and will retain juices better when you cut into it. Give it a go, trust me, you’ll never skip it again.
As for cooking methods, you’ll find a few cooking methods used by different people when it comes to steaks, such as pan-searing, reverse searing, and sear-to-oven. The easiest and the one I am most comfortable with is a simple pan sear.
Equipment you’ll need: A heavy-based pan to hold the heat well, and a pair of tongs.
Tip: I highly recommend investing in a good heavy base, oven-safe, stainless steel pan (or cast-iron skillet) as these things will last you years, and you can cook virtually anything in them.
1 Striploin steak (about 1.5 – 2 cm thick)
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
A few sprigs of rosemary
- To get started, place your pan on high heat and let it heat up.
Tip: remove your steaks from the fridge about 20 mins before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. This way, it will cook more evenly, and you will avoid the risk of having a cold center to your steak.
- Meanwhile, pat your steaks dry with kitchen paper, then generously season them with salt and pepper, when you think it’s too much, put more. A well-seasoned steak will always deliver better flavour, and you’d be surprised how much salt and pepper is used to season.
- Once the pan is screaming hot, drizzle in some olive oil, and place your steak in the pan. You should instantly hear it sizzle. Making sure your pan is hot ensures that you will sear your steak, and not boil it.
Tip: As tempting as it is, do NOT poke or move your steaks around, let the pan do the work and allow the crust to form.
- Sear on both sides for about 3-4 mins. While searing, add a spoon of butter, garlic, and herbs to the pan. Baste your steak by spooning the butter over the steak as it cooks.
- Once both sides have a nice dark crust, use the tongs to hold your steak on its side to sear the fat. Hold for about 30 secs.
- Once the steak is done, transfer it to a plate and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.
What is your favorite way to eat a steak? Try this recipe and tell us how it went!