preparation time: 2 hours (for steak to come to room temperature)
cooking time: 12-20 minutes (depending on thickness and how you like your steak)
resting time: 6-10 minutes (depending on cooking time)
The Ducasse slow-cook method produces what the man himself describes as “a beautifully tender steak with a richness that’s almost sweet”. Delicious as this sounds, the 1-hour preparation time nudges his steak into the category of things you’d hesitate to do for a regular weeknight dinner. Enter the Guardian’s Felicity Cloake, who combines elements of the Ducasse approach with the standard high heat approach to bring you a pretty near perfect steak you can pull off in about 20 minutes.
As in the Ducasse method, the steak is cooked at moderate heat rather than in a screaming hot pan (Ducasse explains that this is so the meat caramelizes without carbonizing, the latter of which he feels ruins the flavour). The pan starts off dry, and other than what comes off the steak itself, no fat is added until the butter goes in. And there’s a lot of flipping.
The version below is just a slight modification of the Guardian recipe. It’s well worth reading the actual article for Cloake’s comprehensive comparison of expert opinions on the various aspects of cooking a steak, including drying, seasoning, temperature, fat, flipping.
The original Ducasse recipe requires 60 minutes total (45 minutes cooking time + 10-15 minutes resting) for a 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) boneless rib eye. He includes additional instructions for an accompanying peppered cranberry marmalade (60 minutes) and sauteed Swiss chard side (30 minutes). If you feel you need more detail, the Fat Guy has a step-by-step guide using a bone-in rib eye, complete with photos, an explanation of the importance of the Maillard reaction, and notes for preparing home fries in a second pan alongside your steak.
rib-eye steak * – at least 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) thick **
butter – large knob
shallot – 1 small
herb – sprig of rosemary, thyme or oregano (optional)
coarse sea salt
freshly ground pepper
* or other cut of choice
** pictured here is a 5 1/2-cm boneless rib eye
1. Take the steak out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking and allow to come to room temperature.
2. Heat a heavy pan on medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, sprinkle a layer of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper onto a plate.
4. Pat the steak dry with paper towel. Using tongs, sear the edge of the steak in the dry pan, pressing it to the pan and turning until it is nicely browned all around. (3 minutes)
5. Move the steak over to the plate and coat both flat sides with salt and pepper. Return the steak to the pan and cook each flat side for 1 1/2 minutes, using a spatula to press down and maintain an even contact for better browning. (3 minutes)
6. Add butter, shallot and herb to the pan. Turn heat down a smidgen to medium/medium-high. When the butter is melted, baste and flip the steak every minute until the steak is cooked to your liking. For medium rare, it should take about 1 1/2 minutes per centimetre – 6 minutes for a 4-cm (1 1/2-inch) steak and 7.5 minutes for a 5-cm (2-inch) steak – but check by pressing on the steak with your finger. The 5 1/2-cm beauty in these photos spent 8 minutes on this step. (6 to 10 minutes)
7. Remove the steak from the pan, place on a plate or cutting board, tent with tin foil. Leave to rest for at least half the cooking time before serving. (6 to 10 minutes)