There’s something about the bursting flames of an open grill when they lap and lick upon the savory surface of a premium cut of steak. There is no doubt that these bountiful blessings of bovine flesh and flavor are best baptized in fire, as chefs around the world will concur that steak is meant to be prepared over an open flame, with embers inside crackling and popping beneath the drizzling juices of the transforming meat.
Unfortunately, not all homes are created equally. While frequent steak consumers may long for a grill of their own, it’s just not always going to be possible to paint the picture in reality of a backyard barbecue featuring filets and sirloins over a red-hot range. Alas, apartments offer limited room for open flames, and we simply find ourselves without the necessary appliances to make our feasting dreams manifest, occasionally.
If you’ve ever excitedly purchased premium cuts of steak with the intention of cooking them to perfection right in your very own kitchen, only to be disappointed by the stark realization that you’ve never bought a grill, we’ve got the cast-iron advice you need:
A Cast Iron-Clad Solution to Steaks without Flame: Pan-Searing
When it comes to any recipe you might experiment with, there are varying degrees of correctness you can aspire to. Now, when we talk about steaks, those degrees take on literal meaning in the form of your answer when asked how you like your steak cooked. Purists and those blatantly passionate about steak will order their cuts rare (and perhaps scoff at even being asked the question), and just a couple of degrees can make all the difference in terms of leaving the customer satisfied, or not.
Steak temperature is a topic deserving of its own entire discussion, but the subtlety and nuances of a rare steak versus a medium-rare one, and thus the quality of the dining experience, itself, should indicate how seriously one ought to take the preparation of their steaks when inviting a guest over for a home-cooked meal.
If you want to impress your guests but lack the appropriate grilling equipment, chances are you don’t have to miss out on blowing them away with your technique and panache.
To simulate the juicy, dripping, succulent steak that comes off of a nice, hot grill, all you need is a sauté pan. We would highly recommend investing in a cast iron stovetop pan if you haven’t already, but just about any pan will do.
Properly pan-searing a steak take a bit of focus and attention, so don’t get started if you aren’t prepared to commit to the act. Your first step is to get the pan nice and hot, turning it up to about mid-high heat and letting it get up to temp before you do anything.
Once the pan is hot, drizzle a little bit of oil into the pan, maybe a tablespoon at the most, depending on the size of your steak. Your steak should be seasoned on each side with salt and pepper and whatever else you are using for flavor.
You’re going to lay the steak down on its side in the pan once it’s hot. The steak should instantly start sizzling against the metal of the pan. Let the steak cook in the pan until the side that’s touching gets nicely cooked but before the surface becomes truly charred, then flip the streak and begin searing the other side.
At this point, if you really want to enhance the flavor of the steak, there are a few things you can do. Take a small knob of butter (about a tablespoon or so) and just place it on the center of the side of the steak which you’ve just placed facing right side up in the pan. A couple cloves of garlic placed in the pan or on the steak itself will also help seal in and bring out the natural flavors of the steak.
As the butter melts and the steak’s juices drip into the pan, you’ll want to spoon them up and drizzle them over the steak itself here and there. This helps infuse the steak with its own moisture and fat as it renders off, while also seasoning the surface of the steak with the butter, garlic, and other flavors that have been applied up to this point.
To enhance the savory nature of the steak, just a couple minutes before you’re done searing the second side, put a small bundle of fresh herbs (a bit of rosemary, thyme, and sage is a good combination) in the pan to soak up with juices and allow the herbal, aromatic qualities to rub off on the meat.
Once the steak is seared to an internal temp of your liking, pull it out of the pan and let it rest for about half of the cook time. Resting is perhaps the most crucial stage of the entire game, as this phase helps really seal in and finalize the internal flavors and juiciness of the steak.
Once the steak has rested for about half the cook time, just give it a quick flash in the hot pan on each side to bring up the heat again, and in moments you’ll have a delicious, savory steak prepared with love and attention without even having to leave the home!
If you’re okay with leaving the house for a premium cut of steak, look no further. We give you the opportunity to make tableside selections so you get the cut you desire, and our internationally-known staff and culinary professionals are sure to deliver with what you’re looking for. Next time you’re in our neck of the woods
, stop by for the best steak and international cuisine, courtesy of Atlas Steakhouse