May 232013

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” Orson Welles

Sometimes you make a commitment to a friend and … duty calls. When twittering, a wee while back, I exchanged some food ideas with my friend Sandra. 

In a weak moment I shared about my plans for cooking a steak when my wife was away. Then, after a few more exchanges, I promised to post my approach.

So here you go: NOTE: if food isn’t your scene or you don’t eat meat … in your shoes I’d read something else. 

Furthermore, this is not a recommendation, advice or anything else a reader might want to sue a person for. Follow this at your own risk and, when it has all gone swimmingly, pat your own back for a job well done … please don’t cook a steak that way (well done that is) … Philistine!

Steak marinaded in Basil, garlic and lemon juice

All you need is a (beautifully matured by my butcher from local, grass and grain fed beef) 10 to 12 oz ribeye steak, left to come to room temperature, and:

For the marinade:

  • 8-10 fresh Basil leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • half a lemon
  • 100 ml of mild olive oil
  • flaky sea salt
  • pepper

To make the marinade:
  • use your favourite blender or whizzer;
  • pull the stalks off the Basil and loosely chop or tear up the leaves (ignore the screams … it’s just your imagination) — add to container;
  • peel and chop or use a press to mince up your garlic (perfection not required as you’re going to blend in due course) — chuck into the container;
  • slice a lemon in half and squeeze into the container (only the juice). You can automate, use a squeezer, or apply your mighty fist and let the juice trickle sensuously through your fingers to keep the pips back (if you use the finger method any slight cuts in your skin can induce an accidental howl of agony) — whatever you decide get the liquid into the container.
  • add the olive oil to the container (if you’re using a whizzer make sure to use a tall and narrow container; cover the blade slots with oil to create the blending effect.)

1. RubbaDubba
  • blend or whizz the marinade
  • sniff it for a few moments … doesn’t it smell great?
  • lay the steak on a plate and pour a dollop of marinade on to it
  • massage one side of the steak with the marinade, yes massage (stop being macho, men) but with gentleness: squeeze, stroke, smooth, rub, knead; bottom line – feel the merging of the meat and the mixture

  • I’m not saying it’s sensuous but … once you’ve recovered equilibrium … massage the other side of the meat
  • leave for at least an hour
2. Cook the steak (remove children from the vicinity of the heat). Please note you’re expected to be able to get your vegetables and fries lined up without any explanation.

Note: The timings are for a rare steak of average thickness 1″ to 1.25″. You’ll have to work out your own timings (good fun if you like steak).
  • use a skillet if you have one (cast iron = fantastic, heavy base = excellent … the thinner the base the more you need to keep an eye on things)
  • IMPORTANT: don’t oil the pan (the oil in the marinade is quite enough)
  • make the pan very hot (red hot is a bit much, good ’n hot is fine)
  • lay the steak in the pan (press it down if you must but don’t move it about), sprinkle sea salt and some pepper on to taste (easy does it you can add more later), and let it cook for 1 min 45 secs one side …
  • turn the steak over and cook for another 1 min 30 secs, sprinkle salt and pepper again …
  • take out of pan and rest on a warm (I-can-touch-the-ceramic-without-screaming) plate
  • get your veg and fries on the plate (I put a sliced onion in the pan and cook it while I fill the plate with vegetables) … if you don’t like healthy plant stuff give your steak 5 minutes without touching.
  • remove to a comfortable table and enjoy.

3. Get stuck in

There you go. We call it steak and chips. You’ll find the flavour is juicy and tangy. It goes really well with a robust fruity red and some grainy mustard. Vegetables like carrots, sugar snaps and onions add a pleasant flavour ‘shading’ … I enjoy them cooked crisp.

The wine and mustard are not advertisements, simply stuff I like. Yum! Yum! 

© Mac Logan

Mac Logan lives near Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the author of The Angels’ Share thriller series. You can see Mac talking about his writing.

The Angels’ Share and DarkArt, are available as are two back-stories Fumble and The First Battle. All are published by Fantastic Books Publishing.

Mac will soon be releasing series non-fiction books on the human aspects of work.

You can contact Mac here. Follow Mac on Twitter: @MacLogan_writes

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