Three chefs share their favourite steak sauce and marinade recipes.
Steven Jones – Executive Chef Treasury Casino
For Steven Jones, a hollandaise-based sauce is his favourite way to dress up a steak. He’ll either add a splash of tarragon vinegar reduction and some chopped fresh tarragon to turn it into a classic bearnaise; and sometimes adds a spoonful of tomato puree to turn it into a choron, which pairs just as well with fish as it does with steak and other red meats.
“Hollandaise is an emulsified butter and egg yolk sauce so it’s very indulgent,” he says. “Adding acid from the tarragon vinegar reduction and the tomato puree helps to cut through the monosaturated fats and cleans your palate.”
To make the hollandaise, beat five egg yolks and one tablespoon of water seasoned with salt and pepper in a bain marie or a double boiler, being careful not to let the bowl get too hot else to prevent scrambling the eggs. As the mix thickens and becomes creamy, slowly pour in 500 grams of melted butter, whisking continuously until you reach the consistency of thick custard.
To make the tarragon reduction, sweat one finely diced banana shallot until translucent, then add three tablespoons each of white wine and tarragon vinegar. Simmer until liquid has reduced by two thirds then set aside to cool.
To make the bearnaise, stir a tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon through the hollandaise. Add the tarragon reduction to taste – a teaspoon at a time – until it tastes balanced and delicious.
To turn it into a choron, add a tablespoon of tomato puree to the bearnaise sauce and whisk to combine.
Chris McLeay – Chef de Cuisine Garden Kitchen and Bar
The cut and quality of the steak determines how Chris McLeay seasons and serves it. A premium cut requires nothing more than flaked sea salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil, but for secondary cuts like brisket or short rib, McLeay uses a rub made from salt and spices including paprika, cumin and fennel seeds and allows the meat to marinate in it for two to three hours before smoking or slow-roasting.
When it comes to steak sauce, McLeay’s loves a classic mushroom sauce. “There is no limit to the creativity when it comes to using a variety of mushrooms, and these days even supermarkets stock a wide variety that you can experiment with.”
For mushroom sauce first-timers, McLeay suggests using nutty Swiss Browns. Soften 30 grams of finely diced brown onion and two grams of crushed garlic in vegetable oil in a hot pan before adding 150 grams of finely sliced mushrooms. Deglaze with a splash of wine (either red or white – whatever you have on hand) then add 100 ml of beef stock and reduce the liquid by half. Add 100 ml of thickened cream and reduce by half. Stir through chopped fresh parsley, 15 grams of butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dustin Osuch – Director of Culinary and Events
Dustin Osuch likes to keep it simple by flavouring his steak with softened butter and fresh garlic as it cooks over the grill.
Start by seasoning your steak liberally with salt (“don’t be shy,” says Osuch) before placing it on the hot grill. Baste it continuously with the softened butter and fresh garlic mix, watching out for the flames that will flare up as the butter drips onto them – don’t worry, this will help get the outside of the steak nice and crispy. Keep cooking and basting until you’ve reached your ideal doneness, basting again while the steak rests. To serve, Osuch can’t go past a purple onion marmalade. To make it, thinly slice a purple or red onion and caramelise it slowly in vegetable oil, a little butter and salt over a low-medium heat. Keep the pan covered but stir the mixture regularly until nicely coloured and very soft – about 15 minutes. Add a tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar and half a teaspoon of sugar, and reduce until you reach a light syrup consistency. Allow to cool before serving.