The versatility of steak makes it the perfect choice for the kind of side dishes you find in a steakhouse or a fine restaurant. A well-seasoned, tender and juicy steak is the star of the meal with flavor that is hard to overpower, so choose simple or familiar steak sides; or make bold choices, as long as the sides complement the beef, add color and aroma to the table and work well with the type of meal being served.
Potatoes -- Fried, Baked or Roasted
Potatoes and beef are good together, no matter how you cook the spuds. Keep it simple with the kind of potato sides served at steakhouses: foil-wrapped, baked potatoes; french fries; seasoned potato wedges; potato salad; or oven-baked sweet potato fries. Microwave cubed red-skin potatoes with a little butter for steak night with the family or, for a full-course meal worthy of the fine china, prepare mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes or potatoes au gratin. Step up the potato side dish with unfamiliar spices and garnish. Add mustard, horseradish or shallots to mashed potatoes or garnish potato salad with lemon wedges.
Fresh Salads and Vegetables
Often, a good salad is all you need with a juicy steak. Some people prefer a basic iceberg lettuce and tomato salad or a side of coleslaw, but choose from a variety of salad greens and dressings.
For a tasty, leafy salad, toss tomato slices, cucumbers and mixed salad greens -- like spinach, arugula and radicchio -- in a vinaigrette.
A bagged spring mix bought at the grocery store provides the right mix of salad greens for a steak dinner, or make a Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan cheese and croutons.
Create a salad with the ingredients you love, such as radishes, three-bean salad, carrots and olives.
A single fresh vegetable side dish, like sliced yellow squash sprinkled with black pepper, might provide just enough contrast to the steak.
Oven-Baked Sides and Cooked Vegetables
Prepare a full steak meal with sides that take a little more time and effort. Set a dish of sautéed mushrooms on the table. Add a Southern flavor with sweet potato casserole and mixed slow-cooked kale and collard greens, or take a Western approach with corn on the cob, baked beans and string beans. Long-grain or Spanish rice will pick up the steak juices if they share a plate. Add glazed carrots and creamed spinach, or skip the rice and serve roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts. A pasta dish with a marinara or cream sauce makes the meal more spicy or rich.
Sauce for the Steak
For some diners, a steak meal is not complete without sauce. You can set a bottle of steak sauce on the table or, as BBC’s Good Food website recommends, prepare one of the familiar steak sauces.
Try the creamy, white béarnaise sauce made with vinegar and tarragon, or pesto sauce made with basil.
Provide a dish of barbecue sauce if your side dishes add a Western flair to the meal, or make a mushroom sauce with herbs and cream to go with potato sides and rice side dishes.
Small bowls of bleu cheese dressing or tomato-based steak sauce provide more choices.
Your diners might appreciate a simple au jus made from the steak drippings with a dash of Worcestershire or soy sauce and chunks of bread for dipping.