A couple of years ago, I promised a friend a wonderful 60th birthday dinner, and I knew that dinner needed to include a perfect steak for this meat lover. I bought us two rib eye steaks, 2 inches thick, and I marvelled at how beautiful they were. I made Steak au Poivre, but what I'm going to talk to you about today is the method of cooking the steak.
When you have a very thick steak, you have to be careful that you don't char the outside while the inside is still cold - unless that's how you like it! For me, I like a medium rare steak with a warm pink center, nice and juicy. The way to do that, believe it or not, is to sear it in a smoking hot pan and then roast it in the oven. Yes, you hear me correctly. Try it my way just once, and you will never cook your steak any other way.
Bring the steak to room temperature. You'll need a cast iron pan big enough to fit the steak, salt and pepper (or any other dry steak seasoning that you like, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning), and some olive oil. That's it.
Turn your oven on as hot as it will go, somewhere between 500F and 550F. Put the dry pan into the cold oven, and let it heat while the oven is coming to temperature. Pat the steak dry with paper towels (this is very important). Drizzle a little olive oil onto the steak and make sure that all sides are well oiled. Sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper and press into the steak. Turn on one of your burners as high it will go. When the oven and the pan have heated, put the pan on the burner, slap the steak into it and let it sizzle for 30 seconds, use tongs to turn it over and sear the steak on the other side for 30 seconds, and then put it in the oven. DO NOT PIERCE THE STEAK WITH A FORK - USE TONGS INSTEAD!
In the oven, cook for 2 1/2 minutes for medium rare, then flip it and cook for 2 1/2 minutes on the other side. Add one minute to each side for medium, etc.
Remove from the oven and check for your desired degree of pink. It's easy when you know how!
Make the OK sign by pressing your index finger against the tip of your thumb. Now, using your other index finger, press the pad of flesh directly below your thumb on your palm. That is how rare steak feels when you press it.
For medium rare, press your middle finger against your thumb.
For medium, press your ring finger against your thumb.
For well done, press your pinkie against your thumb.
Once the steak is cooked to your specifications, cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
While you're waiting for the steak to rest, go ahead and deglaze the pan with some wine or brandy or broth, add some garlic, mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper and some kind of an herb.... I really love herbes de provence, which long time readers of this blog already know.
And, voila! The perfect steak!