Some folks claim that a perfectly grilled (or seared) top-notch steak needs nothing else. That may go for steak purists, but we have to agree that there are a few things that can turn an average cut into a delicious steak dinner. Whether it’s a basic seasoning or a simple sauce, even high-quality steaks can benefit from a little bit more flavor.
While the first few bites of a juicy, full-flavored steak are delicious enough, by the tenth bite, you may be craving something more interesting. Sometimes it’s a piquant sauce, other times, a blend of rich spices. Truth be told, a boost of flavor can take an average steak dinner to a whole new level where you’ll be enjoying your meal to the last bite.
Even pricey meat can benefit from the right kind of spice rub or side sauce. Whether you’re looking to try something different for a weeknight dinner or impress your dinner party guests, keep reading to find out about the best ingredients that can take your steak dinner to the next level.
There are a lot of things in the culinary world that pair well with a bright hit of fresh herbs. As you may expect, steak is one of them; in fact, steak has an intense flavor to stand up to even the most aromatic of herbs, especially woody ones like rosemary.
As a matter of fact, rosemary doesn’t pair well with delicately flavored dishes, as it can quickly become overpowering. However, when it comes to steak, the two of them are making a great team!
Here’s our recommendation for seared steaks: add a small sprig of rosemary along with a clove of garlic and a pat of butter, and you will have the perfect pan sauce. For something a little bolder, try incorporating rosemary into a classic sous-vide steak recipe.
This herb is more of a flavoring ingredient than an edible component, so don’t forget to remove the stem before eating the meal.
Want a high-protein breakfast? Go for steak and eggs! This combination is absolutely perfect. Whether you’re using a leftover from a weekend roast or you’re cooking up a fresh steak, it’s a great treat to start your morning with.
The crispy seared crust of a seared or grilled piece combined with the richness of the egg yolk creates something much better than the two foods individually. Here’s the easiest option: a filet of steak next to a couple of fried eggs. However, there are many different ways to combine these two ingredients.
If you want to upgrade the basic recipe, try making tacos using some strips of cooked meat, scrambled eggs, and salsa. You can also prepare breakfast burritos with the same ingredients but bulking them out with beans and rice. Beyond breakfast, you can also make a savory sandwich using a fried egg, steak, sliced cheese, and tomato.
While beef isn’t a common type of meat in Indian cuisine, this doesn’t mean that you cannot experiment with Indian flavors for your upcoming beefsteak dinner. You can use masala spice mix in a marinade or as a rub. This warm, fragrant spice blend can easily stand up to the most flavorful cuts of beef, even highly funky dry-aged filets.
Masala is basically a spice blend that can contain a variety of ingredients, though the most common are turmeric, coriander, ginger, cardamom, chili, and garlic. The vibrant mix boosts the richness of a juicy steak taking a basic meal to the next level.
Here’s our recommendation: make sure you marinate the meat in a masala marinade before grilling or searing it, then serve it as an Indian-style taco prepared with sliced red onion, naan bread, and cilantro. A beefsteak is an excellent option for when you don’t have time or energy to cook: just cook the meat on high heat, and it will char without overcooking the inside.
Surprising or not, vanilla isn’t used just for dessert. This sweet, floral ingredient works well in marinades and sauces, as well as other savory dishes. We don’t blame you for seeing vanilla rather as a basic flavor since it often ends up as the classic option for things like ice cream. In fact, vanilla is more than this; it is an exotic delicacy cultivated in certain humid and warm climates.
To pair steak with vanilla, culinary experts recommend making a vanilla compound butter that goes well with grilled ribeye. There are several recipes available online, so choose the one that you like most. You may think that this combination won’t work at all, but wait until the first bite.
Pro Tip: Due to the delicate flavor, vanilla works better in the pan sauce rather than directly on the meat.
Argentine cuisine enthusiasts are probably familiar with this culinary tradition of grilled and roasted steak. Here’s why: truly authentic Argentinian steak is almost always served with their famous chimichurri.
Chimichurri is an herb sauce made specifically to perfectly match the beef taste — but why exactly is it such a good pairing? The garlic and herbs in chimichurri definitely do a part of the job, but it’s the vinegar that really brings all those flavors out.
There are many sauces made with vinegar that work in harmony with steak. The punchy, tart flavor works great with the salty richness of the steak creating a gourmet meal. In fact, vinegar is one of the main ingredients in most barbecue sauces and an essential ingredient of one of the most popular steak sauces: A1.
To recreate this at home, try sprinkling your meat with some sherry or balsamic vinegar while it’s resting.
Steak and garlic are very compatible. One of the easiest ways to cook a perfectly seared steak is to add several cloves of garlic into the pan right at the end of the cooking process, along with some butter to make a rich pan sauce. Don’t forget to spoon the hot butter over the steak to create a golden-brown crispy crust that provides a hot garlic butter flavor.
For an even easier approach, cut a clove of garlic and rub it all over the cut of meat once it’s done cooking. This quick technique provides a subtle garlic flavor without outshining the beef taste. For the times when you make roasted steak, you can throw in a few cloves of garlic at the same time. Don’t ditch the heads of garlic after this; spread them on bites of steak or on bread for a flavor-packed experience.
If you really want to upgrade your steak recipes, try preparing the meat in lard instead of butter or seed oil. Rendered pork lard contains half the saturated fat of butter and provides much more flavor. Although plant-based oils were originally considered healthier, current research suggests that seed oils may increase inflammation in the body.
You may find yourself using less lard when cooking; that’s because of the extra flavor it provides, so a little goes a long way. Lard can also sear a cut of meat better than butter because it boasts a super-high smoke point, which means it can reach the ideal searing temperature without burning.
Now, if you love the flavor of butter, you can add it at the end once you’ve turned the heat down. Pork lard may have its own flavor, which can be a negative or a positive thing depending on your culinary preferences. One thing is for sure: the lard flavor depends on its quality, so you should do a little research before purchasing it.
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