It’s meant to be one of the most romantic times of the year but it can also be one of the most stressful times too. They say the way to someones heart is through their stomach, but you have to be able to feed them something amazing right??!!
Steak is one of the most cooked dishes on Valentines Day and here, along with Thermapen, I will show you how to cook the perfect steak and take the stress out of cooking the ultimate steak!
I was invited to attend the Thermapen Steak and Beer workshop at the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School a couple of weeks back. The Thermapan is the latest in cooking thermometers and takes a reading in just 3 seconds; it certainly is one of the handiest gadgets to have in the kitchen.
The workshop kicked off in the demonstration kitchen with a very thorough chat from Scotch Beef, showing and explaining to us the various cuts of steak including some favourites including sirloin, rump, T-Bone, ribeye and fillet. I reckon a good steak should be about 28 days aged and ideally cooked medium rare! Controversial I know as we all have our preferred ways of how it should be cooked and eaten.
Up next we had Barneys Beer and the Edinburgh Beer Factory talk about how beer, lager and ales are the perfect match for steak. Most of us will go with a bottle of red wine but beers like the Barneys Capital Porter and Edinburgh Beer Factory’s Paolozzi lager really compliment the big robust flavours of a great steak.
Fiona Burrell, is the head of Edinburgh New Town Cookery School and showed us how to whip up 4 sauces to accompany any steak. We had Salsa Verde, Chimichurri, Peppercorn and Red Wine Jus. We were all very diligent students listening to every word Fiona said as we would be making our chosen sauce and cooking our own steaks later on in the evening.
Fiona chose to showcase the T-Bone and the Sirloin steaks.
So how do you choose the perfect steak?
Good beef should be a deep red in colour with some marbling. The marbling melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks. The age of the meat is important as the hanging process develops the flavour and tenderises the meat, so its worth asking how long the beef has been hung for when you are buying it from a butcher. As a rule, 21 days as a minimum and 35 days as a maximum is a good range to go for.
You can marinade meat but many would say that a good piece of meat only requires a little olive oil, salt and pepper. So ideally remove your steak from the fridge for an hour before you are going to cook it, let it come to room temperature. Once you are ready to cook it, heat the griddle or frying pan over a high heat, until smoking hot. Lightly brush the steak with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ideally fry one steak at a time otherwise the temperature of the pan will drop and you’ll end up stewing your steak instead of frying them. Don’t turn the steaks until sear marks are achieved then turn them over and cook the other side.
Now this is where the Thermapen comes in handy. Remove the pan from the heat and using the thermapen insert the probe into the thickest point of the steak . Don’t insert the probe all the way through the steak, aim for the middle of the steak. If you like your steak rare then the temperature should read 52 degrees, for medium rare 56 degrees and for well done (please don’t do this to your steak), 71 degrees.
I would knock 5 degrees off from each temperature reading when you want to take it off the heat as your steak will continue to cook even when not on the stove. Remove your steak from the pan and allow to rest in some tinfoil. Remember to add the excess juices from your rested steak to your sauce; this is where all the flavour lies!
The sirloin with red wine jus cooked rare/medium rare.
The T-Bone cooked medium with a side serving of peppercorn sauce. By this time we were all ravenous having sat through an hour of watching and learning, that we were all super eager to head upstairs into the kitchen to start cooking our own.
We all paired up, doned our aprons, chose our preferred sauce and steaks.
I teamed up with food blogger Ailidh from Plate Expectations, and Donnie and Raymond from the Boys Eat Scotland shared our workbench too. Don’t we look like we know what we are doing?!
We chose the Salsa Verde and the sauce is super simple. Dice capers and anchovies (I’m not a fan of anchovies but you honesty don’t taste them but can also leave them out).
Finely chop up parsley, coriander, mint, tarragon and garlic.
Place it all in a bowl and add the olive oil and lemon juice to taste and preferred consistency. Season to taste. Done!
Onto the steaks. We chose sirloin and rump steaks.
As per Fiona’s instruction, we oiled and seasoned both sides.
Put the frying pan on a super high heat and added the steaks to fry. Ahhh the sizzle was joyous.
Checking with our Thermapen. Half way there.
Letting it rest. Gosh it looks delicious.
Rested and plated; topped with our Salsa Verde.
And served with roast potatoes, coleslaw and roasted vegetables. I paired my rump steak with the Barneys Porter.
A hearty steak that’s tender, juicy and delicious pulls at the heart strings especially when its accompanied by a crisp salad and chips. Steak is naturally rich in nutrients, providing protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B.
And if you are looking to turn up the loving on Valentines Day, and need an extra excuse to cook steak; its also regarded as an aphrodisiac, boosting the level of reward hormone dopamine and norepinephrine, which in turn increases the heart rate. Why not add some asparagus and grated parmesan to take the sex appeal up a notch.
Here’s to a very happy Valentines Day…