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Much at steak

Vincenzo Zizza, The Italian Chef De Cuisine of Renaissance Hotel, Powai, tells us how to prepare the perfect steak and sauce accompaniment

You can cook a perfect steak using different equipment. The steak can either be pan fried, oven roasted or grilled. The right cut of meat is equally important to ensure a perfectly cooked steak. The size of the steak has to be just right -- not too thin and neither too thick.


T-Bone steak with Mushroom sauce. pic/ Sameer Markande

First, pepper the steak and rub it with olive oil. Place it on a very hot pan or grill and sear for it for 30 seconds on each side till the meat changes it colour. Add salt later so that the steak doesn't give out water. The steak will have to seared.  Searing means cooking the food at high heat so it browns quickly and seals in the juices.

For a rare steak, sear the cut for about 1 minute on each side. Total cook time can range from 2-3 mins.
For a medium steak, sear the steak for 2 and a half minutes on each side. Brush it with pepper and olive oil. Cook to another 1 and a half minute on each side and leave to rest. For a well done steak, sear it to 4-5 mins on each side. Leave it in an oven with 250 -279 heat, and let it cook for 2-3 mins/

The best way to know if the steak is cooked or not is by touching it.  It's called the finger test. A rare steak will always be very soft as only the surface is seared. A medium steak should be half- cooked. The centre portion of the meat should be slightly under-done and appear pinkish in colour. A well-done steak will be cooked all the way and will have a hard surface and texture.

Sauces: Every region has a favourite. Italians prefer theirs with lemon and olive oil. English prefer pepper sauce/red wine sauce/mushroom sauce. French like their steak in port wine. Indians, I have learnt, like a gravy.
According to me, the perfect sauce is prepared from the juices that ooze out of the meat while preparing the steak. Add beef stock and red wine to it and leave it to reduce. Then adding some butter to the sauce, serve it over the steak.

Red wine sauce:
Take the same pan in which the steak was cooked and has left behind its juice. Add 100ml of red wine. Better the wine, more the flavour.

While the wine is boiling, add few thyme leaves and one bay leaf. Before the wine is completely evaporated, add 100ml of beef stock. (This could even be chicken stock if you're making chicken steak).

Take 15-20g of butter and add some flour to it. The butter should be at room temperature so that it melts while working it into the flour with your hands. Add to sauce and stir continuously till the sauce is thick.

Mushroom sauce:
Take the same pan in which the steak is cooked and has left behind the juices. Add finely chopped garlic, 100-150 g of sliced mushrooms and leave the mushroom to cook for 5-7 mins.

Add red wine and then beef stock and a few thyme and bay leaves. Take 15-20g of butter and add some flour to it. Again, the butter should be at room temperature so that it melts while working it into the flour with your hands. Add it to the sauce and  stir continuously till the sauce is thick.

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