Well obviously there’s the regular selection of the degree to which steak is cooked which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, namely rare, medium-rare, well-done and medium. Each to their own in that regard indeed, but for some reason as a chef one is expected to fall somewhere between the category of rare and medium rare as a personal preference. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not a lion and I like my food cooked all the way through, although I do indeed make sure my steak is a kind of soft well-done (medium well-done).
What I’m really on about though are the different ways through which steak can be enjoyed, particularly with regards to steak-based dishes. Based on the dish of which your steak forms a part, the steak is prepared differently to complement the dish and this applies across the board (whether you want it rare, medium-rare, medium or well-done).
Steak and Chips (Fries)
It’s perhaps a dish that’s more popular across the Atlantic and over in the likes of the UK, which is why I refer to them as chips as opposed to fries, like they do. Okay, so the difference between fries and chips is simply that chips are thicker-cut fries, for those of you who don’t know, usually seasoned with salt and vinegar.
Anyway, steak that is to be served with fries is basically just prepared as is with not much in the way of seasoning, spicing or pre-cook marinating. The idea is for the diner to season it as they wish with a range of sauces commonly comprised out of a BBQ-dominant flavor. The chips served with the steak are usually also left up to the diner to season however they like, with ketchup (or tomato sauce from the point of view of our friends across the Atlantic) making for the firm favorite.
Steak and Rice Dishes
Steak served with rice dishes is perhaps the closest thing you would get to a “real” steak by way of its preparation. It has to be juicy in its consistency and is most certainly prepared a lot juicier than the steak served with fries. This steak is often marinated and ideally matured for a bit before cooking. Flavor retention is the order of the day and ideally one should be able to make a sauce / gravy along with the steak they cook.
Exclusive Steak Dish or Steak and Different Sides
If preparing a steak for a steak-and-rice dish was as close as one can get to the whole dish being about the steak itself, then exclusive steak dishes or those served with different sides are indeed 100% about the steak. It’s all about how the steak tastes which means a lot of specific preparation goes into its making to ensure that whoever is eating it feels like they showed up to eat steak and nothing else.
Here you make sure to bring out the full flavor of the steak and make sure none of the ingredients which go into its cooking or served with it overpower the meaty taste.