How to cook the perfect griddle pan steak, with a homemade chimichurri dressing

Pay respect to a quality cut of meat with this steak recipe.

When it comes to steak, everyone has a different idea about how it should be cooked and what sauce it should be served with. But however you like it, from blue or rare to medium or well-done, there are three important factors that guarantee the perfect steak. Obviously the quality of the meat is crucial, and the best cuts tend to be the more expensive ones, and are almost alway free range. Secondly is the temperature at which you cook it – steak needs to be cooked in a searingly-hot pan –  and that’s where a good stovetop griddle pan comes in. Lastly, timing is key to achieving the exact finish you like.

I use the Staub griddle pan from Zwilling. The ridged griddle pan has the edge (quite literally), and can be used for plenty of other dishes aside from steak (use a non-stick one for halloumi and peach skewers).

The ridges allow for a chargrilled finish complete with darkened, seared stripes and juicy, speedily cooked meat, that’s not suffered any flavour-sapping, lengthy cooking. This is due to a griddle pan’s weight – the heavy base conducts heat quickly and retains it efficiently – plus the beamed surface raises the ingredient from the base so it doesn’t steam in its own liquid.

If, like me, you’re new to the world of griddle pan cooking, there are a few golden rules to live by:

1. Oil the food, not the pan! If you drizzle oil into the pan it will just sit in the grooves and none of it will even touch the meat. Groundnut oil is perfect for steak as it has a mild flavour and can withstand very high temperatures without burning. Never use butter, unless you want to melt a knob on top at the very end for a creamy finish.

2. To stop food from sticking to the griddle pan, leave it long enough that it gets the chargrilled marks – the ‘char’ marks form a layer between the pan and food that will mean it should come away from the pan easily. To get a criss-cross pattern, turn your food 90 degrees once initially marked and to get a diamond pattern turn it about 50 degrees.

Right. Ready? Time to whip out your grill pan and make a proper steak. The chimichurri dressing is tangy and herby and cuts through the fat of the meat, and compliments the flavour. Serve with a strawberry & cucumber side salad, bacon salad cups or other side dish.

You will need:

  • 2 quality cuts of steak
  • A griddle pan

For the steak seasoning:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Chimichurri sauce:

  • Small bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • Small bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch of paprika

Method:

1. Put the gridde pan on a medium high heat. Rub oil onto the steaks, mix the seasoning on a plate and press the steaks into the seasoning, coating both sides and put immediately in the pan. Don’t season the steak too early as the salt will draw moisture from the meat.

2. Cook the steak according to the size of steak and how well you like it. If you like it blue, it will need about 1 minute on each side if it’s roughly 2cm thick, or 1 ½ minutes on each side for a cut that’s 3cm thick. If you like it rare, cook it for 1½ minutes on each side for a 2cm thick steak, or 2¼ minutes for a 3cm thick cut. Medium-rare is about 2 minutes on each side for a 2cm thich steak or 3¼ for a 3cm thick steak. Medium is about 2¼ minutes on each side for a 2cm cut or 4½ minutes on each side for a 3cm piece. For a well-done steak, cook for about 4-5 minutes each side.

3. Once the steak is cooked, make sure to rest it at room temperature for at least five minutes and ideally around half the cooking time – it will stay warm for anything up to 10 minutes. The fibres of the meat will reabsorb the free-running juices giving a moist and tender finish to your steak.

4. Whilst the steak is resting, whip up the Chimichurri sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or process with a food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides several times. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

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