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Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Ultimate Steak Townsend Style

Whether your preference is a butter-soft fillet steak, tasty sirloin or thrifty cut like bavette or skirt, care and attention should be paid when cooking your beef. With only a few minutes leeway between rare and well-done, timing is key. We’ve put together some tips to help you from start to finish.

1. Buy a good meat thermometer – If you have an expensive cut of beef DO NOT GUESS the doneness of the meat, use the thermometer.

2. Do not cook your steak until it has warmed up to room temperature – thaw a frozen steak in the refrigerator the night before you wish to cook it and then pull it out of the refrigerator a half an hour before cooking

3. Select your best frying pan – We recommend frying your steak, although you can grill it if you prefer. A heavy-duty, thick-based frying pan, ideally with a non-stick coating, will achieve good results, as will a heavy griddle pan or skillet. These types of pans get really hot – ideal for getting that slightly sweet, charred finish to the outside of your meat. If the pan isn’t big enough for all your steaks, don’t be tempted to squeeze them in anyway. Cook them one or two at a time then leave them to rest as you cook the remainder of your batch.

4. Pick an oil – the kitchen at Townsend suggests using groundnut oil for cooking steaks – it has a mild flavour and can withstand very high temperatures without burning. Never use butter, unless you want to add a knob at the very end for a creamy finish. The jury’s out when it comes to how you apply the oil. Some chefs like to oil the steak then add it to a hot dry pan, while others add a splash of oil directly to the pan. Once the oil starts separating, it’s hot enough to add the steak. Whichever method you use, the important thing is to get an even spread of oil. Don’t be tempted to put your steak in early – if the oil is too cool, your meat could turn out greasy and under-browned.

5. Dressing your steak – Beef purists may prefer to take in the unadulterated rich flavour of a quality steak by adding nothing other than a few twists of salt and pepper. However, don’t season too early – salt will draw moisture from the meat. Our chef suggests sprinkling black pepper and sea salt onto a plate, then pressing the meat into the seasoning moments before placing it into the pan.

Our cookery team have outlined what you can expect from each category of steak.
• Blue: Should still be a dark colour, almost purple, and just warm. It will feel spongy with no resistance. 130 °F
• Rare: Dark red in colour with some juice flowing. It will feel soft and spongy with slight resistance. 135 °F
• Medium-rare: A more pink colour with a little pink juice flowing. It will be a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy.  145 °F
• Medium: Pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice flowing. It will feel firm and springy.  150 °F
• Well-done: Only a trace of pink colour but not dry. It will feel spongy and soft and slightly springy. 160 °F

Get cooking
1. Your pan must be extremely hot

2. It’s very important to consider the size and weight of your steak before calculating the cooking time. If you’re unsure how long, take advantage of the thermometer.

3. Flip the steak every minute – this will ensure that the steak cooks evenly

4. When the steaks have been in the pan for a couple of minutes add some garlic and thyme to the pan

5. After a couple more minutes add knobs of butter to the pan and begin basting the steak with the butter, thyme, and garlic

6. Flip the steak on edge to ensure the fat is brown and crisp

7. Take the meat out of the pan 3 degrees before the desired doneness

Leave it to rest
A cooked steak should rest at room temperature for at least ten minutes – it will stay warm for anything up to 15 minutes. Here, pure science comes into play – the water moves away from the heat to the centre of the pan, when the meat rests the water moves back toward the surface of the steak.

Coriander steaks with tomato & rocket salad