A cooking lesson for steak houses

The Food Bitch gives a lesson on how to cook the perfect rare steak.

15 Aug 2012
food bitch restaurants rare steak

Restaurants make so many basic mistakes these days. I can only assume that their ‘chefs’ are blind drunk or honed their skills watching Ainsley Harriot on Ready-Steady-Cook.   

Last Sunday, I attended a birthday breakfast at On The Rocks, which is supposedly one of the nicer restaurants in an area flooded with carcinogenic fast food chains, and the should-be-basic food was more like the Mad Hatters' tea party.

I don’t often order kippers, but when I do, it's because I want to taste... kippers. When my plate was put in front of me, I told the waitress that she had brought me the wrong dish as there were no kippers in sight. The waitress assured me that it was indeed the correct dish - they were ‘under the mushroom sauce’.

WTF moment 

If ever there was a WTF moment, then that was it. Fish should never be served drowned in mushroom sauce. Period. Let alone for breakfast. But the WTF moments did not end there, no sir indeed.

Next, my partner’s (the long suffering one I hear you groan) eggs Benedict came on a bit of soggy French loaf rather than an English muffin. Grim. Grim. Grim.

Wow, clearly this is a cook (I cannot bring myself to use the word ‘chef’) that has lost the plot completely. Where is Gordon Ramsay when you need him?

So in the interests of all you bad restaurant owners and cooks, I am going to teach you the basics of cooking. Just a few simple things that you shouldn't mess up…Hah! 

A lesson       

Today is a lesson in cooking a rare (or bleu) steak. I spent 3 solid years working in the kitchen of a steak house so I do know what I'm talking about.

Raw fat and usually cold in the middle

Often the so called ‘top’ steak houses get rare steak wrong. It is often served cold with raw fat (excluding fillet obviously) which is revolting.  Here are simple instructions to make a good rare or bleu steak, assuming you start with a good cut of meat.

1. Find a well aged piece of steak. The best way to make sure that it is well aged is to buy a nice cut of meat, stick it in your fridge and forget about it for a week. Use a fridge marker to date them so you know when they arrived.

2. Remove the steak from the fridge immediately when you receive the order, and place near the grill, so that it can be brought up to room temperature.  If you cook the steak directly from the fridge, the middle is going to be ice cold and disgusting.

3. When it is time to grill, baste the steak, season and then use the tongs to jam the steak fat down on the grill. This changes the fat from raw gristle to crispy and tasty, as well as warming the steak without cooking it.

When the fat is cooked, grill the steak for a minute or 2 on each side and plate on a very warm plate. What you now have produced is a very rare (but warmed right through) steak with crispy fat.

Tip: Don't let it rest too long before you send it out, by the time it gets onto fork and into mouth, it has had enough time to rest.

So simple yet stuffed up all the time.

Cooking rare steak at home

If you are cooking this at home and don’t have a grill, then use the braai to the same effect. Never pan fry rump or sirloin. It is never the same.

Tip: For the basting sauce, use Worcester Sauce as it gives the steak a nice colour and flavour. Season before cooking with sea salt and black pepper.

Yours in kicking restaurants butts!



- The Food Bitch


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