Choosing your steak
Rib-eye: The chef’s favourite. Allow 200-250g per head to allow for trimming. This cut used to be quite cheap, but is now creeping up in price. It has an open-fibre texture and a marbling of creamy fat. Cook with the surrounding fat still attached, then remove after cooking, if you prefer. The fat adds flavour as well as basting the meat during cooking.
Fillet: The most expensive cut. Allow 100-125g per head. It is very lean and, because it has short fibres, very tender. Ask for a piece cut from the middle of the fillet, not the end. Also, ensure that the butcher removes the sinewy chain that runs down the side. I like to cook my steaks split in half lengthways, not the usual round medallion shape.
T-bone: Generally 350-400g each, including bone. It has a good marbling of fat with a layer of creamy fat on one side – this should be left on for cooking, then removed if you like. You get about 200-250g of meat, with a sirloin on one side of the bone and a fillet on the other. You also get some marrow in the bone which can be spread on the cooked meat.
To cook your steaks, heat a frying pan – to a moderate heat for fillet, hot for T-bone or very hot for rib-eye. Add a swirl of oil, with a whole garlic clove and a herb sprig. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook for 1½-2½ mins on each side. For fillet steak, cook the rounded edges too, turning to seal them well.
If you’re cooking fillet or rib-eye steaks, add a knob of butter to the pan, allow to foam a little and baste the steaks. T-bone steak has plenty of fat, so simply spoon it over the meat as it renders down. Remove steaks to a plate and allow to rest for at least 5 mins. Trim off any unwanted fat.
Slice fillet or rib-eye steak along the grain, then arrange on a plate with your chosen sauce and side dish. My personal preferences are for rib-eye with mushrooms and the shallot & red wine sauce; fillet steak with oven chips and bois boudrin; and T-bone with wilted spinach and mushroom sauce.
Choose a heavy-duty frying pan with a thick base and, ideally, a non-stick coating. Don’t overcrowd the pan – cook the steaks one or two at a time, then heat them through in the sauce later.
The cooked steak needs to rest for at least 5 mins and will retain its heat in a warm place for about 10 mins.
Checking for 'doneness'
Use your fingers to prod the meat. When rare, it will feel soft; medium-rare should be only lightly bouncy; well done will feel much firmer.
Gordon uses lobster-style tongs for easy turning. Don’t turn the steak in the pan until it has had at least a minute of cooking each side. That way it develops a delicious caramelised flavour.
Oils to use
Use groundnut oil for cooking steaks as it can withstand high-temperature cooking without burning and spoiling the flavour. Finish with a little butter at the end of cooking, if you like.
Don’t season a steak until just before cooking, as salt draws out moisture from meat. Gordon sprinkles sea salt and freshly ground black pepper onto a dinner plate and presses the steaks into the seasoning just before cooking them.