Perfect rump steak with caper and anchovy butter

by Tim Maddams

An expert’s approach to a classic dish

Cooking a steak. Just how hard can that be? Surely, we don’t need a whole recipe devoted to that simple task, with the addition of one of the simplest steak dressings ever invented? Well, most of us suppose that things we do a lot are quite simple. But this is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to trouble in the kitchen.


4 x 180g rump steaks (I prefer the thick end—and do not let the butcher take away all the fat)
100g butter
A good sprig of thyme
4 anchovies
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp mini capers or 1 tsp chopped standard capers, well drained of their brine
1 lemon
A large pinch of chopped parsley


For this to work, you will need a good frying pan with a heavy, solid base—one that you know you can trust.

Bring the steaks to room temperature, season well with salt and pepper and put the pan onto the stove to load up with heat (a good tip: if a pan is too hot, you can stop what you are doing, but if it’s not hot enough you can struggle to get it back to where you want it to be). Use a moderate flame or heat setting and wait. Get your other ingredients ready while the pan heats up.

Put half the butter in the now hot pan and allow it to get to the foaming or even lightly smoking stage. Add your steaks to the pan but do not move them around. Cook for at least 2 mins on the first side, without moving, then turn over. For a nice, generously cut steak, 2 mins per side will be ample for medium-rare, once resting has occurred. Add the thyme when you turn the steaks.

Remove the meat to a warmed plate, turn off the heat and add the remaining butter to the pan, along with the anchovy, garlic, capers and a good squeeze of lemon. Cook this for 1-2 mins in the residual heat of the pan and then add the parsley—you may need to add a drop of water if the pan was quite hot, so as to maintain a little moisture.

Tip any juices from the well-rested steaks into the sauce, stir and pour over the steaks before serving. If you find the steaks have cooled a little too much for your liking, you can return them to the warm pan to re-heat, and even add a little flame if the pan has also cooled too much.

Recipe: Tim Maddams