Antony Ely's guide to cooking the perfect steak at home in eight easy steps
Although it's something many would count as their favourite meal, steak is something that a lot of people shy away from cooking at home.
In large part, this is due to a perception that it's difficult to cook and most would prefer not to see an expensive piece of meat go to waste because they don't know what they're doing with it.
Anyone wanting to treat themselves to a top meal could do a lot worse than heading to the Chequers, in Marlow, which boasts a butcher's counter where customers can choose their own cut and have it sliced as thick as they want.
In this guide, Antony Ely, executive chef for the pub's owners Brakspear, shows us how to get it just right at home.
*This guide is for pan-frying a ribeye steak - a heavy-bottomed, cast-iron skillet or griddle pan will work best, but a decent frying pan will do.
1. Buy a good quality steak. The Chequers buys Australian, grain-fed beef from a supplier in Smithfield Market that has been dry and wet-aged for 100 days, but that's not feasible for most people. It's possible to get good quality steaks from most supermarkets, but a bit of trial and error might be needed to find the best.
2. Before cooking, try to have the meat rest at room temperature for about half-an-hour to an hour - this should help it too cook more evenly.
3. Heat the pan and get it as hot as you can get it - but do not add oil to it.
*Testing the heat* The best way to test the heat is to add a few drops of water to the pan. If the water boils the pan isn't hot enough. Instead, the water should form beads and evaporate. This is caused by the water sitting on a layer of super-heated steam.
4. When the pan is hot enough, and not before, oil the steak and season with salt and pepper. Try to avoid oils with a low flaming point, like olive oil. Instead, go for a vegetable oil. Lay the steak in the pan and just leave it. It will probably be stick to the pan slightly to begin with, but as the sugars caramelise it will detach itself naturally.
*The importance of a hot pan* Sugar turns to caramel at about 182c, hence the need for hot pan that will stay hot. That should give you a steak that's nicely caramelised on the outside, but still juicy on the inside. If you can't maintain a high temperature, the steak won't sear and seal in the pan, instead it will stew in its own juices.
5. Give it about a minute or so to cook and then turn it with a pair of tongs and cook for the same again. Working out exactly how long to cook it for each side can take some trial and error, depending on personal taste. A safe bet is to underestimate how long you think it needs and if you want it cooked a bit more, pop it in the oven to finish off.
6. Take the steak out of the pan, put it on a warm plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for as long as you cooked it for.
7. [optional] While it's resting, pour the excess fat out of the pan (not down the plug though) add a glug of wine or brandy to the pan to deglaze it. Add some creme fraiche or double cream and allow to thicken into a sauce.
8. Enjoy with chunky chips and a side salad.
Watch a video of Antony's guide below.