Sometimes, a steak is best served on its own with some sides and seasoning. Other times, a good quality steak sauce can elevate that steak into something truly special. Those that say a good quality steak, cooked well doesn’t need a sauce are right. But so are those that say a good quality, well balanced sauce works wonders too.
I think much depends on your mood and the sauces on offer. As long as the sauces are of a good quality and are well balanced, they can transform a dish. You want a sauce that has enough flavour to make it worthwhile but not so flavoursome that it overwhelms the steak.
Here are five steak sauces that can achieve that balance when made well.
Peppercorn sauce is probably the country’s favourite steak sauce. A simple but very effective sauce that needs to be well balanced in order to work. It is too easy to get this one wrong and only brave chefs will put it on the menu if they make it themselves. A good peppercorn sauce is the perfect accompaniment to a good fillet steak.
Diane sauce is old but gold. It’s a classic steak sauce that is seeing something of a renaissance and is popping up on menus across the country. A rich creamy sauce with mushrooms, onion, garlic and a little brandy with Worcestershire and mustard to taste. Another sauce that requires a careful hand but rewards you with a lovely flavour when you get it right.
Salsa Verde is a nice summertime sauce that works very well with steak. This is an uncooked sauce with basil, mint, parsley, garlic, capers and Dijon mustard. All in an olive oil and red wine vinegar base. This is a little more forgiving than the other two sauces but still needs fine balance to avoid the vinegar or mustard overpowering the meat.
Béarnaise sauce is another classic steak sauce. It isn’t as popular on menus as Diane or peppercorn but can be just as effective. A mixture of whisked eggs, butter, tarragon, wine and vinegar can be carefully crafted to deliver a rich, subtle sauce that works exceptionally well in a range of situations.
Chimichurri sauce is one of the simplest but most effective steak sauces. Originating from South America, this uncooked sauce is a mixture of white wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, garlic and parsley. While similar in ingredients to Salsa Verde, it tastes complete different and is more a dressing than sauce yet works exceptionally well as one. It can be tweaked to include chilli or thyme too depending on your taste.
These are what I consider to be the five best steak sauces. Got any others you think should be on the list?