"It's not much but it's ours"

Monday, March 10, 2008



I crouch on the carpet
Not breathing just being

A good Steak is like a Dry Martini. A deceptively simple thing to prepare but devilishly hard to get right. I make a decent enough Martini (shaken not stirred - prefer them that way chez moi) because I have complete control over the preparation which basically comes down to making sure everything is sufficiently chilled. I can do an ok steak as well, but something was always lacking. I suspected it was my griddle pan which couldn’t possibly be as good as a commercial device.

I decided to have another go a few weekends ago. I tried a new (for me) butcher, Jack O’Shea, who supplies The Fat Duck. A very friendly chap, he started off with a place in Brussels and now has a shop near Harrods. He can do all manner of cuts for you including quite a few South American ones I hadn’t heard of before like Picana. His website features a video of him butchering a Leg of Lamb to produce several different cuts which made me wonder why we don’t get this sort of stuff on TV instead of the usual celebrity-driven guff.

Anyway, he suggested a 40 day aged Forerib. The beef had come from Aberdeen Angus stock raised in West Cork. The rib was a bit large side with the bone in the middle but he split it for me. He’d got some marrow bones on display so I scored a couple of them too.

About an hour or so before cooking I let the steak come to room temperature and got the griddle pan heating up. Jack suggested that I give the steak a good sprinkling of sea salt a few hours before to help to give it a good char.

When I was ready to cook there was a bit of surface moisture on the steaks which I removed then I cooked the steak for 4 minutes per side. I seasoned it and put it straight in a low oven for about ten minutes to let it rest and warm through. I served the steak with the previously roasted the marrow bones and some lightly dressed watercress.

I have to say this was the best steak I’ve ever cooked and the flavour was up there with the best steaks I’d ever had. Damn, it even looked professional. I knew it was good because I’d made a little horseradish sauce and put out some Dijon mustard and I preferred the taste au naturel.

Sometimes I have difficulty finishing large steaks but had no problems this time. The taste was so clean it made very easy eating and I finished the lot. A glass or two of Finca Valpiedra 97 accompanied it very nicely.

Buoyed by my success, I went back a week later and bought a Rib of Beef to have for Sunday lunch chez Dos Hermanos padre. Served with all the trimmings it was rated a great success. A lot of the cuts on display in the shop looked a bit too well trimmed of their fat which is probably how the good bhurgers of Knightsbridge like it. If you want something with more fat, age etc. they seem happy enough to see what they have in stock and butcher for you. I look forward to returning and seeing what their other meats are like – I’ve already tried their Oxtail pie (mmm...pie) which was excellent.

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Blogger Chris Pople said...

Looks great, but how much was it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 11:22:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

The rib steak was 20, the joint plus was 50.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 11:56:00 am  
Blogger Chris Pople said...

OK, not cheap but I suppose you get what you pay for. How long did you heat up the griddle pan before laying down the steaks? Did you oil the pan up first? Sorry for all the questions, I am considering doing steaks next week and want to make sure they turn out as good as yours!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 5:31:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

It's about what I usually pay for good beef but I'm not averse to paying less if the quality is good.

Re cooking make sure the griddle is clean and heat it for as long as possible to get it really hot.

Take the steaks out of the fridge and give them plenty of time to come to room temperature. I salted mine before cooking. But you may want to experiment with one first.

Put the extractor on full - there'll be a load of smoke.

I never oil the griddle or meat. Make sure surfaces are dry. Try not to keep moving the steak. Once to flip and maybe one turn through 90 degrees if you want nice hatched markings.

Cook to your liking - you can use the ball-of-thumb test to check for the level of doneness.

When the steak is done I put it on a plate in a very low oven for 6 or 7 minutes which seems to keep the steak warm and gets you a nice even colour.

Remember if you undercook your steak you can always remedy the situation. If you overcook it you're stuffed.

¡Buena suerte!

Thursday, March 13, 2008 12:02:00 am  
Blogger Will said...

I just found this post and must say that I am impressed! I made my own attempt at this dish the other evening,, and even though my method of cook was different I think the result was quite similar.

1 question on the marrow bones, how exactly do you prepare/cook them? I have never had the pleasure of cooking these but am on the look out for some suitable examples at butchers in Dublin.


Friday, May 02, 2008 10:21:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Thanks. I guess it's a question of finding the method that works best for you. It's the end result that's most important and it looked like your method wokred just as well judging by the pics.

Re marrow bones, I just put them in a dish and shoved them in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes but this obviously depends on how thick the bones are. I wrapped some foil around one end to prevent the fat seeping out.

There are a lot more 'cheffy' things you can do with them like splitting them and grilling them but I like to keep things simple and manageable.


Monday, May 05, 2008 6:24:00 pm  
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