Here's the thing about beef: it's expensive. And it should be; it's a part of a huge, expensive-to-raise animal. So, when you've invested in a high-quality piece of meat, especially a nice thick one, you don't want to screw it up. This recipe is the only way I cook it, partially because it's so darned easy, but mostly because it's the best steak I've ever tasted. Here's how to do it.
First, a few words about the cut. Get a good one. For the purpose of this recipe, anything will work, just make sure it's at least 1 1/2″ to 2″ thick. I get my meat from a local butcher shop, so I know it's fresh and cut exactly how I like it. Make friends with your butcher if you can; they are a wealth of knowledge and will set you up with the best cut every time.
Now, on to the . . . meat of this recipe.
- Cut of Steak (1 1/2″-2″ thick)
- 1 tsp coarse salt, or more, per steak
- 1 Tbsp neutral oil (canola, grapeseed, or something with a high smoke point)
- 1 tsp course ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 sprig rosemary or thyme
- 2 Tbsp butter
1. Prep the meat – First, salt it thoroughly. It's good if you can do this at least an hour before cooking, and it's best if you can do it three days in advance. When it's time to cook, take it out of the fridge for an hour and help it come to room temperature. This relaxes the muscle fibers and prevents sticking to the pan. Just before cooking, brush or rub on then sprinkle each side with pepper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Prep the skillet – Heat up an oven-safe skillet and add a thin layer of oil. Wait until it just starts to smoke.
3. Sear the meat – Carefully lay the meat on the hot skillet. Make sure not to splash oil onto your skin or clothes. Sear the surface for two to three minutes. As soon as it hits the pan, press down on the center of the meat so the fibers don't seize up and brown only the edges. Then, flip only once and sear the other side.
4. Add the flavor – Add the sprig of rosemary or thyme, butter, and crushed garlic cloves to the skillet and mix around to coat the meat. Tilt the pan, allow the flavored butter to accumulate, and use a spoon to baste the meat, better browning the surface
5. Finish it off in the oven – Once you're happy with the crust, move the skillet to the heated oven, and let it cook for 5-7 minutes for rare, 7-10 minutes for medium, and about 12 minutes for well-done (please don't do well-done to your meat, it's not nice). Use a thermometer to guide you, and take it out when it's five degrees below your target temperature.
6. Let it rest – It's best to rest the meat for about 5 minutes in foil to let the juices redistribute and finish cooking. While it rests, I saute' mushrooms or onions in the brown skillet juices to make sure I get all the flavor onto my plate.
That's it. The secret to an exceptional steak, every single time.