When youre dealing with a piece of piece as magnificent and as thick as this, whats required is some clever cooking. The perfect result is to achieve a caramelised, almost crunchy, crust, but also to ensure the meat is warm all the way through.
But thats easier said than done when your meat is 3 inches thick, or more, as in the case of these beauties I got from my favourite butcher, Liviu.
Whats a housedad to do? If you only pan-fry, the danger is you have a fabulous external crust, but a stone-cold interior; and if you try to get the interior to come up to temperature of, say, 60C for medium-rare, then you have to keep the steak in the pan for quite a long time, which then overcooks the exterior, leaving it dry and mealy.
The answer is to low-roast the beef first. This simply involves pre-heating the oven to 60C and when it comes up to temperature, insert a meat thermometer into the centre of the steak. When that reaches 60C bingo! Job done.
This can take anything from 45 mins to an hour, so its important you keep an eye on that all important gauge.
After that, its simply a case of bringing the meat out of the oven to rest for a few minutes while you heat a cast iron pan to smoking hot, then sear the steaks for a minute of so each side, adding a knob of butter or bone marrow melt right at the end to help the Maillard reaction along.
The results are stunning, as you can see: the meat is cooked exactly to your liking all the way through, but it has that unbelievably toffee-crust that sends our senses into overdrive.
On this occasion, Ive served my steak with triple-cooked chips, sautÃ©ed mushrooms and my version of tangy Bearnaise sauce, which cuts right through the richness of the beef.
Heres the recipe:
30 ml white wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves, reserving the stalks
1 large shallot, fine chopped
8-10 whole peppercorns, lightly cracked
3 egg yolks
200g warm melted butter
Juice of Â½ lemon
2 tbsp chopped chives (or chervil)
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Put the vinegar, tarragon stalk and peppercorns in a small pan and reduce by half over a low heat. Cool then strain into a heat-proof bowl.
2. Add the egg yolks and 30ml cold water and whisk together.
3. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesnt touch the water itself. Whisk the mixture until it becomes thick and pale in colour.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat, then gradually whisk in the melted butter a bit at a time until the sauce becomes thick and glossy.
5. Stir in the lemon juice, chopped tarragon and chives, and mustard (if using). Then season with salt and pepper.
6. Slice your steak and serve a great big dollop of the sauce on top. Sublime!