A few weekends ago we had some friends over to our house for lunch, and we got around to talking about A Family Feast. We love hearing suggestions for the types of recipes people would like to see us post here – and our friend Simone was the first to speak up! She asked for a simple and easy way to prepare steak – and others agreed (including myself!) – so here is our recipe for the Perfect Pan-Seared Steak!
I’ll admit – I usually leave the cooking of steak or other cuts of beef to my husband Jack. Other types of meat…I have no problems cooking that! But steak…I’ve never been happy with how it came out when I cooked it. Until now that is! Cooking the perfect pan-seared steak is so easy (and it comes out so deliciously good) you’ll become an expert at it too!
For a perfect steak of any kind, you really need to start with a good quality, high-grade cut of beef. For a perfect pan-seared steak, a good rib eye or sirloin are our recommended choices – and try to select a thick steak (at least 1½ inches thick). Look for marbling (little spider veins of fat that are weaved throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender cooked steak) and try to avoid cuts that have large pieces of outside fat or gristle running through it. Don’t be shy about asking your butcher – even at your local supermarket – for exactly the cut of beef you need!
At most supermarkets, you are most likely going to find a grade of meat that is called “choice”, which is perfectly fine to use! Just try to avoid the grades called “select” or “standard” as they are lesser cuts of meat and usually lack the marbling you want. It is also possible to get the best grade called “prime” at the supermarket, but unlikely – you typically will need to go to a specialty butcher for that. If you don’t mind paying top dollar, you can also buy aged beef. The butcher will place the beef in a climate-controlled space for a period of days or weeks. The beef will lose moisture and intensify in flavor. (It is possible to age beef at home yourself…see this article.)
When you get the steak home, remove it from the package and place it in your refrigerator, uncovered, on a plate lined with a few paper towels until you are ready to prepare it. This will help remove any excess moisture and will also help intensify the flavor of your steak.
Finally, we recommend using a well-seasoned, large black cast iron frying pan for making the perfect pan-seared steak!
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