When you want to eat the perfect steak, you have to come to Europe. Especially Belgian and French cuisine offer the best in quality and variety.
Some of the great chefs are not shy to share their secrets for a perfect steak. What you need to do is the following:
Use only quality meat. Ask your local butcher for a piece of the upper leg of the cow, which is the best part for steak. In European supermarkets, you’ll find the best steaks referred as ‘rumsteak’, ‘tournedos’ or ‘steak bavette’. You’ll be surprised to find that beef is not very expensive in most European countries. It’s even cheaper than chicken!
Also important is to use the right kitchen utensils. Don’t use a pan with special layer (advertised as the pans that don’t need oil or butter). The old-fashioned pans are the best.
By preference, prepare your steak on a gas stove.
Right, everything set? Then we start cooking.
We put our pan on the stove and use adequate butter. The best result comes with real butter, not margarine (every famous chef will confirm this). We heat the butter on a big flame.
In the meantime, we season the steak on one side (put salt and pepper on it).
Allow the butter to melt and turn to noisette (kitchen term = hazelnut brown).
Put the steak into the pan and keep the flames high enough. Keep it on one side for just a moment, then turn and season the other side. Then lower the fire.
According to your taste, you can leave the steak in the pan for just one or two seconds (saignant = bloody). A minute or two longer will give you a steak à point (= inside pink). Five minutes longer will render the steak bien cuit (= well done).
Steak ranks high in the top-10 of favorite food in Belgium. In this country, a steak should be accompanied by pommes frites (fries) and a salad of witlof. The frites are sided by a big tuft of hand-made mayonnaise.
If you want to make your own mayonnaise (so much better than the one bought in the supermarket) you’ll need the yolk of one egg, oil, one teaspoon of mustard, pepper and salt and one teaspoon of vinegar. Put the yolk, vinegar and mustard into a bowl. Add pepper and salt. Mix by hand (you can also use an electrical mixer, if you prefer, but that’s not so authentic) and wait until the mix becomes thick. Add some more oil and mix again. Repeat this until you have enough mayonnaise. For an even better taste, you can also add some citron juice.
Steaks in Europe are also served with various sauces. Big time favorites are steak au poivre (pepper steak, with a sauce based on brandy, mustard, cream and black pepper); steak champignon (a sauce with mushrooms and cream) or steak Roquefort (cheese and cream sauce, with the famous French Roquefort cheese). Nothing for weight-watchers, but oh so delicious!