One of my all-time favorite meals is a big juicy steak with baked potato and salad. It doesn’t get much better than that! Steak is one of those menu items most everyone has a firm opinion of how it should be prepared and what cut of meat is their favorite.
A rib-eye is the cut of steak my husband prefers. Yes, you read that right, husband. Morgan and I tied the knot on Saturday and as you read this we are honeymooning in Key West, but I digress.
My husband (still, trying to get used that word) says that the marbled fat within a rib-eye is what makes this cut of steak the best. It’s juicy and full of flavor. When we prepare steak at home he likes to season a rib-eye with a dry rub of paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and sear it on the grill to about medium temperature.
Dad and I prefer a T-bone steak. To me, it’s the best of both worlds with a strip steak on one side and filet on the other. It’s kind of like a two-for-one. I like to season mine with garlic powder, cracked black pepper, Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. A secret my friend Sarah turned me on to a few years ago is to wait until just before cooking the steaks to sprinkle a little kosher salt on the meat.
My friend Donna said she agreed with Morgan that a rib-eye is the best cut of steak. She likes hers “medium rare to kicking, grilled outside if possible, with no seasoning other than salt and pepper.”
The temperature a steak should be cooked is another controversial topic for some. Many want their steak cooked completely done with no hint of red at all, while others insist the steak is only good if cooked somewhere around medium temperature and some want theirs practically mooing! I started out as a well-done kind of girl, but slowly have begun eating them closer to medium. I’m still not the type to order one medium-rare and definitely not rare, but if there’s some blood on the plate I don’t freak out anymore.
My cousin Carrie said she likes her steak grilled medium, covered in Montreal steak seasoning by McCormick.
“Pepper, char and slightly bloody beef goodness,” she said.
My sorority sister Lauren likes hers medium rare.
“It’s best marinated overnight with Lawry’s marinade, served with salad, baked potato or sweet potato,” Lauren said.
Branching out into a little more exotic methods of steak preparation, my good friend Bill Colvard, lifestyle reporter over at The Mount Airy News, prefers steak au poivre.
“I like both Julia Child’s and Alton Brown’s version,” he said. “My wife Lynda is philosophically opposed to sauces and in a restaurant, asks for hers on the side, which means more for me. Steak-frites too. Both of these are pan-fried, but I don’t turn up my nose at a grilled steak either.”
Steak au poivre is essentially a steak seasoned with crushed peppercorns and served with a pan sauce. Several chefs claim to have created the dish according to some interesting history I read on cooksinfo.com. In a 1950 cooking magazine called La Revue Culinaire, Émile Lerch claimed he invented the dish in 1930 after receiving a shipment of frozen beef from America that looked appealing but wasn’t very flavorful. After the article was published, letters flooded in from other chefs claiming that they invented the dish as early as 1905. Below is a recipe for steak au poivre so you can give it a try.
If you have a great recipe for steak or a unique side dish to accompany a steak, send it to me at email@example.com or call me at 336-518-3049.
Steak au poivre (Recipe from cookingwithjulian.blogspot.com)
• 2 Tb of a mixture of several kinds of peppercorns, or white peppercorns
• 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. steak 3/4 to 1 inch thick
• A hot platter
• 1 Tb butter
• 2 Tb minced shallots or green onions
• 1/2 cup stock or canned beef bouillon
• 1/3 cup cognac
• 3 to 4 Tb softened butter
• Sauteed or fried potatoes
• Fresh water cress
Place the peppercorns in a big mixing bowl and crush them roughly with a pestle or the bottom of a bottle.
Dry the steaks on paper towels. Rub and press the crush peppercorns into both sides of the meat with your fingers and the palms of your hands. Cover with waxed paper. let stand for at least half an hour; two or three hours are even better, so the flavor of the pepper will penetrate the meat.
Sauté the steak in hot oil and butter. Remove to a hot platter, season with salt, and keep warm for a moment while completing the sauce.
Pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the butter and shallots or green onions and cook slowly for a minute. Pour in the stock or bouillon and boil down rapidly over high heat while scraping up the coagulated cooking juices. Then add the cognac and boil rapidly for a minute or two more to evaporate its alcohol. Off heat, swirl in the butter and half-tablespoon at a time. Decorate the platter with the potatoes and water cress. Pour the sauce over the steak, and serve.
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple, here she shares her musings on food, life and love. She can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.