Cooking perfect steaks has never been my strong suit. I’ve tried grilling, pan-frying, seasoning when I first get them home, not seasoning until after they are cooked, blah, blah, blah . . . the results are fine. I detest fine. I want them to be shockingly good. I want you to leave my place after eating that steak and think, “I could die happy right now”.
So I happen upon this recipe offering a new technique, and I’m intrigued (but skeptical). I follow careful instructions (so that I can blame the recipe when it doesn’t turn out!) and proceed with caution. I put the oven rack in the right position, I get out the cooking twine and I pull my lovely filet mignon out of the fridge (I used a 1lb. filet for 2 people, but you can use a strip steak or rib-eye, too!).
The results? Moist, tender steaks without that ugly, tough gray layer that often develops after pan-searing steaks. I’m impressed, people!
Alright, so here’s what you do — and please let me know what you think!
Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Strip Steaks
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen (gotta love those guys!)
Rib-eye or filet mignon of similar thickness can be substituted for strip steaks. If using filet mignon, increase the oven time by about 5 minutes. When cooking lean strip steaks (without an external fat cap) or filet mignon, add an extra tablespoon of oil to the pan.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees.
Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Cut each steak in half vertically to create four 8-ounce steaks. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt and pepper. Gently press on the sides of the steaks until they are a uniform 1 ½-inches thick and tie with twine to keep shape. Place them on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and transfer baking sheet to the oven when ready. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of steaks registers 90° to 95° for rare to medium-rare (20-25 minutes) or 100° to 105° for medium (25-30 minutes).
Next, heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Place steaks in skillet and sear steaks until well-browned and crusty, about 2 minutes (lifting once during cooking to redistribute fat underneath each steak). Using tongs, turn steaks and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes.
Transfer all steaks to wire cooling rack and reduce heat under pan to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 steaks on their sides. Holding steaks together, return to skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 1 ½ minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes while preparing pan sauce (if you choose). Plate steaks, and ENJOY!