I slept terribly this past Friday night. I woke up at three in the morning for no discernable reason (I don’t even have a kid yet!). The only thing that lulled me back to sleep was some gawdawful ninja movie. Needless to say, I was in a pretty garbage mood when I finally got out of bed in the morning. My wife was all like “are you okay” and I was all like “ow, the sun hurts my eyes and why isn’t there enough sugar in my coffee and I’m gonna go for a run and then rake the leaves and not talk to anyone so stop talking”. Or something like that.
After the leaves were all raked, and more properly sugared coffee was consumed, I started thinking about suppertime. Perhaps because of the crummy sleep I got I thought I should treat myself to my favorite, most desert-island, death-row meal. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s steak.
I started looking online for a good steakhouse to spend my money at. I have a soft spot for the Toronto classics like Barberian’s and Tom Jones, or the dry aged love they give the steaks at Jacob’s and Co, but my problem was I didn’t have anyone to go with. My wife had plans that night, and when you’re nearing your forties you have almost zero friends who can just go to a steakhouse on a whim. In your twenties you can wake up from a three-hour nap at five pm on a Saturday night and make dinner plans with buddies – not so much when all of your friends have kids or schedules. I would go to any of those steakhouses by myself, but it can be a little too much food, what with the tableside Caesars and the creamed spinach and the 32 oz porterhouse. Steakhouses are built for group dining – centuries before “small plate dining” dominated the Toronto scene. It seemed like if I was going to eat steak, I’d have to cook it myself.
Luckily I do have a couple of friends that don’t have children so I called them up and made plans to crash their evening and cook for them. Sean and Natasha are great cooks but I was adamant, “you make whatever you want but I’m bringing steaks and cooking them for you”. Looking back, that may have been too assertive. But what are you gonna do? I wanted steak so badly; hell, I even had an idea that I wanted to try! And boy did that idea work. Not only did this idea work that night, I am going to cook steaks this way from now on. IT IS AMAZING!!! (Basically I just made a compound butter with fines herbes and garlic and finished the steak with it. That’s all.)
Steak with Steak Butter
For the Steak
2 striploin steaks, about 14 oz each
salt and pepper, to season
1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Steak Butter
4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
1 tbsp chervil, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, finely diced
juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Use a cast iron pan. If you don’t have one you can use your heaviest pan, but you should really get a cast iron pan. They’re not that crazy expensive. Put the pan on a medium high heat on your stove-top and let it heat up. Season the steaks (liberally) with the salt and pepper and rub with the oil.
Sear the steaks in the pan, starting by placing them on the fat cap side first. This will look weird but trust me, you want to render a bit of that fat out. Afetr a minute place the steaks on one side and cook until that side is a dark golden brown, then turn the steak to cook and get golden brown on the other side. Remove the steaks from the pan and lay to rest on a plate. They will be about medium rare at this point. Turn the heat down to very low on the cast iron pan.
Make the steak butter by thoroughly mixing all of the ingredients together. After resting the steaks for at least ten minutes, turn the heat back to a medium-low under the cast iron pan. When it is hot again, put the steaks in the pan to reheat and add the butter. Coat the steak with the butter, getting them nice and warm before removing them. Turn the heat off on the pan. The remaining butter should be slightly foamy and just turning nut-brown.
Slice the steaks with a nice sharp knife and place on a serving platter. Pour all of the remaining butter from the pan over all of the slices. I like to do a final sprinkling of sea salt at this point, but it is up to you. Serve and enjoy!
So basically all I did here was take the classic steak garnish of a compound butter and browned it up before serving it. I personally found the depth of flavour you get by browning it is way better than the raw coin of butter many places will give you, but if you want you can leave the butter cold and serve it on top of the hot steak, letting it slowly melt over the meat.