Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Perfect Steak

What red-blooded American doesn't love a good steak? Here's how to cook a perfect steak, every time.

What you'll need:
1. A steak.
2. An oven-proof pan (preferably cast iron)
3. Salt and pepper
4. An onion (optional)

The first thing is to select a good piece of meat. This particular cut is an aged New York strip, which I bought from Citarella's. It's not the cheapest--this particular piece cost about $20--but it's delicious as hell. But these same instructions apply to any steak you buy.

Before cooking the steak, it's important to bring it up to room temperature, which should take about half an hour, depending on how cold it is. Keep it covered on the counter until you're ready.

While you're waiting for it to warm up, be sure to unplug any smoke detectors nearby. Otherwise, it'll start shrieking halfway through your cooking. Next, turn your oven on to the broil setting.

As this point, if there's a lot of fat around the edges of the steak, trim some of it off, but not all. You want some to protect the meat while it's cooking, and as we all know, fat equals flavor. Next, sprinkle some salt and pepper on both sides of the steak.

If you're the kind of person who likes onions with his steak, now's also the time to cut the onion into 1/4-inch slices. Set the sliced onion aside.

Take your pan, put it on your range, and crank that sucker. (Opening a window and turning on the fan would be a good idea now, too). You want to pan to get so hot that you see smoke starting to come off of it. If you were to drop a pat of butter in there, it would melt almost instantly. Your pan is now ready.

Now comes the fun part.

Place the steak in the middle of the pan, and let it sit there for two minutes. It's gonna start sizzling and smoking like crazy, and you're going to be tempted to move it. Resist with all your might. After five minutes, flip the steak over. It should look something like this:

Fantastic. Now, let it cook for another two minutes on this side. After these two minutes are up, take the pan, and put it in the oven for two minutes.

Next comes the really hard part. Letting the steak rest. Pull the pan out of the oven, and, using a pair of tongs, place the steak on a plate, cover with tin foil, and let it rest about five to ten minutes. This is crucial, as it allows the steak to rest, and the juices to flow back into the middle of the steak.

But you can put this time, and that hot pan, to good use: Take the sliced onions and, over medium-high heat, start cooking them in the pan until they caramelize. Here, they're starting to turn that nice golden brown color, but still need a few more minutes. (I also threw in some mushrooms, too).

Ok, you've been patient enough. Dig in.

So, if you're looking for a nice medium-rare steak, simply remember 2-2-2 (and the all-important 5). Just remember that these numbers will vary depending on the thickness of your steak, as well as if you like your steak more well done.

As for the other things on the plate--creamed spinach and rosemary potatoes--those will be in a later post.


  1. Congratulations on your blog. You're off to a good start with this meal - looks great.

  2. Mike,
    I just found your blog. Fantastic. These are the kinds of recipes I need for my Healthy Life Style book--delicious and very, very simple. Of course I'll be looking for those healthy recipes.
    Ann Prospero

  3. how about some insight on that creamed spinach?