Steak Supper

There's a lot to be said for a great chargrilled steak simply served with classic bernaise
By Nigel Slater
Steak Supper
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 x 200 g beef steaks, a boneless slice from the rump or top round or the sirloin as thick as your thumb
  • olive oil

For the béarnaise sauce

  • 1 small shallot
  • 3 tbsp white wine, or tarragon vinegar
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 3-4 stems tarragon, and their leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Dijon mustard
  • 125 g butter, soft, almost melted


1. Rub your steak all over with olive oil, not too much, just enough to give it a good gloss, then grind a little black pepper over both sides. I put salt on later. Get the grill pan hot, then slap on the steak and press it down onto the ridges with a metal spatula. Let it cook for two full minutes. Do not move it.

2. Now turn it over (long metal tongs are useful here), press it down again (this is when I usually add the salt), and let it cook for a further two minutes. The best way to tell if your steak is done is to press it with your finger.

3. Timing is a hopelessly inaccurate measure because so much depends on how your meat has been hung and butchered. The best--by which I mean the juiciest--results will come from a steak where your finger has left a slight indentation. Until you get to know the "feel" of your steaks you may have to make a small cut into them, but you will lose juice this way. If you want a well-done steak, with no blood in it, then I can't help you. Well, I could but I won't.

4. Incidentally, I sometimes pour a little wine onto the grill pan after removing the steak and let it bubble, then pour the meager, intensely beefy juices over my steak. Serve with fries or accompanied with béarnaise sauce.

5. For the sauce, peel and finely chop the shallot, and put it in a small saucepan with the vinegar, peppercorns, and the tarragon leaves and stems. Bring to a boil and watch it while it reduces to a tablespoon or so. Put the egg yolks and a little mustard into a glass bowl (not a steel one, they get too hot) and place it over a pan of very gently simmering water.

6. The bowl should sit snugly in the top of the pan. Whisk the reduced vinegar into the egg yolks, holding the debris back in the pan, then slowly add the butter, a soft cube at a time, whisking almost constantly until it is thick and velvety. You can turn the heat off halfway through; the sauce must not get too hot. It may need a little salt. It will keep warm, with the occasional whisk, while you pan-grill your steak and fry your frites--which, by the way, I tend to buy very thin and frozen, and cook in deep peanut oil.

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