How to Cook the Perfect Steak
Critically acclaimed chef Laurent Deslandes, from Cape Town’s Bistrot Bizerca, knows a thing or two about preparing the perfect steak. Having been a chef for over 10 years in France and South Africa, he has received multiple awards for his incredible skill and talent.
Chef Laurent has put together some easy steps to follow to help you prepare the perfect steak.
Cooking the perfect steak starts with selecting the perfect cut. When shopping for your meat, try to visit a butcher instead of going to the butchery section of your local supermarket, as you are likely to find better cuts there. Look for a cut that is about two centimeters thick, with a fine texture, firm to the touch, a light cherry red colour and with some marbling, which adds extra flavour and moisture to the meat.
Make sure that the steaks are at room temperature before they come into contact with heat. “If you place a cold steak onto heat, the meat contracts and becomes tougher” according to chef Laurent. Cooking the steak on dry heat is the best method as it gives the meat that brown caramelized look and taste, which is called the ‘maillard reaction’.
Don’t salt the meat before you cook it as this draws the moisture to the surface which can cause the steak to turn a grey colour, as opposed to that delicious brown that you are looking for. Rather add the salt while it is cooking.
Depending on how you like your steak done, the cooking time will vary. If you enjoy your steak blue, cook it for about a minute on each side; for rare, one minute and 30 seconds on each side will do the trick. If you prefer your meat a little more cooked, or medium rare, do two minutes on each side, and for a medium steak, cook it for two minutes and 20 seconds each side. If you like a well done steak, four minutes on each side will do it, without making it too dry.
Cook your steak and then remove it from the heat; allow the meat to rest for five minutes, chef Laurent explains, “it will stay warm, but resting time is necessary before slicing so as not to lose the juices, as the free-running juices are then reabsorbed into the meat.”
The difficulty comes with keeping a close eye on how long the steak has been on the heat; a minute shorter or longer could mean the difference between the steak you want and the steak you don’t.
Apply chef Laurent Deslandes’s tips to these recipes.