Fancy creating a traditional French menu at home to impress your loved one, family or friends?
Chez Gérard’s consultant chef Colin John Bussey shares his secrets on how to cook delicious French food, considering everything from selecting the perfect cut of meat, through to the finer details of cooking up an incredible Béarnaise sauce.
Whether you’re cooking a light supper or a gourmet dinner, the outcome is dependent on the quality of your ingredients. When buying cuts of meat, Colin insists that nothing can beat knowing where your meat has come from.
Discover your local, high class butcher - someone you can trust, who is passionate about his product. Look for a member of QMS (Quality Meat Scotland), Q Guild Butcher or NACB (National Association of Catering Butchers).
The grading of the animal is very important along with the dressing of the animal during slaughter. If the meat has been matured on the bone, it will create a fuller flavour with a nutty aroma. For slow cooking, go for lesser cuts such as feather blade of beef or neck of lamb. If you’re flash grilling a steak, the best choice is rib eye or a cote do boeuf, which will create great flavour. A good marbling of fat is required to keep the meat succulent during cooking and deliver great flavour. Essentially, buy the best meat you can afford for a delicious meal!
Cooking steak to order can be a challenge. Follow these top tips and you’ll serve up great steak, every time:
- Allow your meat to reach room temperature by removing it from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
- Heat rapeseed oil in a good quality cast skillet over a high heat. Rapeseed is a great alternative to Olive Oil. It has less than half the saturated fat and is an excellent source of Omega 3 and vitamin E.
- Season your steak with good British Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper prior to cooking. You can use garlic, rosemary or thyme to add depth of flavour to your steak.
- Place in the skillet and flash fry for approximately one minute on each side. Do not move the steak around the pan, allow it to sear and caramelise.
- For those looking for a well done steak, cook your steak in a hot oven, after flash frying, for a couple of minutes.
- Using a probe thermometer is the ideal way to gauge when your steak is cooked to your taste.
Use the temperatures below as a guide:
- 50c - blue.
- 55c - rare.
- 60c - medium.
- 65c - medium well.
- 68c and above - well done.
Serve with great French fries and accompany with a fabulous Béarnaise sauce.
Chez Gérard Béarnaise Sauce Recipe
- 200g Unsalted Butter
- 10g Chopped Shallots
- 30ml Tarragon Vinegar
- Large sprig of chervil picked and chopped
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 5g Chopped Tarragon
- 6 Crushed Black Peppercorns
- Melt the butter and separate off the milky liquid and discard. Preserve the melted butter warm.
- Make a reduction with the shallots, peppercorns, chervil and tarragon stalks and vinegar.
- Place in a round bottom bowl over a Bain Marie of warm water.
- Add 10ml of cold water and whisk in the egg yolks until a thick ribbon consistency.
- Slowly whisk in the melted butter ensuring it is thoroughly emulsified.
- Pass the sauce through muslin or a fine chinois.
- Add the chopped tarragon, chervil and adjust the seasoning.
- Preserve warm - cannot be reheated or chilled.