I have a reputation for best-ing everything I instantly love, as in, “this is the best Turkish pide ever” or “Fratelli Fresh is just the best – where else do you get strawberries like this in Sydney?” My enthusiasm for something new, beautiful, different, propels me to annoint it with ‘the best’ tag. The thing is I’m a bit boy who cried wolf – I’ll label something ‘the best’ after just one bite, one sip, one stroke at the farmers market, and it might turn out to be not so best. That Italian restaurant that starts off with the warm welcome and crispy grissini, I’ve already declared “the best!” before the flat Prosecco arrives and the starters come out cold.
So now, friends take my ‘bests’ with a grain of salt.
But just trust me, when I say this piece o’ meat, was the best, the very best, I’ve ever cooked. And I cook really good steak.
So if you trust me, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you live in Sydney, Vic’s Meat – the best butcher in Sydney (alongside Hudson Meats), who supplies all the top restaurants – sell their meats at factory prices every second Saturday at their Mascot factory. It’s a carnivore’s heaven, a cool room of meat all laid out, butchers ready to help, at amazing prices. If they don’t have it on display, chances are they’ll get it for you from the back. Case in point: stunning rib eye at $23.99 a kilo.
While I was looking forward to the meat, I was more excited about trying two methods of cooking steak I’d never tried before: searing on the pan then finishing it off in the oven, and the butter basting. You sear it to golden on both sides, then slam into a hot oven for just a few minutes. Back on the hob, you bathe it in butter, garlic, shallots and thyme, then let it rest. Mix the meat juices back in with the butter, and serve. Because my two steaks came in at 450g/1 pound each, and the Momofuku recipe calls for one 2-2.5 pounder, I adjusted the cooking time to a little less and it came out perfectly medium-rare. I didn’t slice it off the bone as advised, but left the cut whole, undisturbed in all it’s glory. Instead of confit fingerlings we had mash, excellent for soaking up the buttery, garlic-and-thyme-infused juices.
The knife cut through the meat without any hesitation.
The meat tasted like meat should.
I can’t describe it any better than that. Meat tasting like meat should.
We licked our lips with satisfied lip-smacking sounds. And somehow made room for a slice of glorious pear tarte Tatin.
I emailed M to say I plan on cooking him this steak as soon as I see him, because it’s the best. This rib eye is an act of love, and I can’t wait.