For years I’ve tried to cook steak using olive oil, since that’s the oil I normally cook with. At one point I stubbornly tried over half a dozen different “How to Cook the Perfect Steak” recipes, including Jamie Oliver’s (big fan of the olive oil, lots of flipping things around) and Alton Brown’s (involves a pan of boiling hot oil for reasons of Science, if you are clumsy AVOID). I flipped, I didn’t flip; I cooked at medium-high, high, and very high; I seasoned at different times; I rested the meat for five, ten, twenty, even thirty minutes. None of it worked. Several other recipes said to use butter or at least a higher smoke-point oil. I stubbornly refused.
Last month, on a whim, I bought butter. Today, for the first time in my life, I cooked steak in said butter, and for the first time in my life, it turned out well. I’m now completely convinced that all the rigmarole around the Perfect Steak can be boiled down to two words: use butter.
But here are more words anyway.
1. Take steak out of fridge and leave out until it’s at about room temperature. About half way through, salt quite generously on both sides.
2. In a large frying pan heat a fair amount of pure butter on high. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, watching that it doesn’t burn. When it’s nice and hot, add the steak. It should sizzle.
3. Sear on both sides until nicely caramelised. (Jamie Oliver says to keep turning the steak back and forth, but I just left it sitting pretty in its puddle of butter. He also says to rub it down with garlic and to whip it with herbs. I did not do this either.)
4. When it’s done (for medium rare, stop when the juices are just beginning to bubble out the sides a little bit), rest it for a couple of minutes.