I had plans to serve a light hummus for Sunday dinner, but after spending all day dragging my toddler (who weighs just under 15 kilograms) up and down the ski slopes, I suddenly developed a voracious craving for meat. Tender, luscious, melt-in-your mouth is what I was after – which was just as well, as I had 2 pieces of 150g prime fillet of beef in the refrigerator at home. My craving was about to be satisfied!
Especially in the winter season, sundays just go so quickly – between skiing all morning, household chores all afternoon, and preparing the kids for the week ahead, there simply isn’t enough time to fit anything else in, which makes pan-frying these fillets the perfect way to create restaurant-quality steaks in your own kitchen in less than 10 minutes.
I am no professional chef, but I can tell you that it is easy to whip up a deliciously juicy steak from a pan. A few tips are all you need to ensure you end up in steak heaven:
1. Choose the best cut of steak you can lay your hands on. The meat should be dark red in colour, and reasonably thick – at least 3 fingers thick. Look out for some fat marbling running through the steak, as this imparts a wonderful flavour to the cooked meat.
2. Cover with a light dab of olive oil or vegetable oil, then rub liberally with coarse ground black pepper, salt and some paprika (optional). Cover with cling film and let sit for at least an hour to let the meat warm to room temperature and also to let the salt, pepper and oil mixture soak into the meat. This will help to better seal the juices when cooking.
3. Add just a drop of oil onto your griddle or frying pan and heat making sure that the pan is hot before frying the steaks. It should be hot enough to sizzle when you place the meat onto the pan. This ensures your steaks will be seared on the outside.
4. Pan fry the meat to your liking. As a guide, for a 1-inch thick steak, fry for 2 minutes per side for rare, 3 minutes per side for medium and 4 minutes per side for well done. Use a spoon to press gently on the surface of the steaks, so that as much as possible is kept in contact with the heat of the pan. Cook one side first, then turn over once to cook the other side. The outside of the meat should be brown and crisp.
5. Once cooked, rest the meat. Resting allows the juices to travel evenly through the meat, developing the flavour and tenderness. I usually place the steaks on a rack in a warm place, covered in foil, so the excess juices run out. Rest the meat for as long as it was cooked.
I added a dash of red cooking wine towards the end of the cooking for added flavour but you don’t have to. I served this baby up with some pan-roasted tomatoes and spinach salad.
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