Why You Should Definitely Pan-Sear Steak for a Weeknight Dinner
When we think of steak, we usually associate this big, hearty piece of meat with eating out, or at least, some sort of special occasion. But...why? You are more than capable of creating a restaurant-quality steak in the very comfort of your own kitchen on a busy weeknight. Yes, there are other easy, balanced dinner solutions out there besides chicken, dare we say (although, chicken is a might fine option, too). Whether you’re looking to treat yo’ self to a $lightly more expen$ive cut of $teak or you’re just in need of a humble, red meat fix, there’s a steak dinner out there for you that will be a fit for your budget and your taste buds. Seriously people, do not fear the sear.
Pan-Seared Strip Steak with Mushrooms, Asparagus, and Vanilla-Cabernet Butter image Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Karen Rankin; Prop Styling: Kashara Johnson
When it comes to procuring your meat, you’ve got options. If you want to dole out a couple extra bucks for a well marbled, high-quality cut, go for a NY Strip, you bad ass hunk of meat! If not, buy the cut that you feel is priced appropriately for you, pound for pound. A hanger steak, or even a flank steak, gives you a good bang for your buck (especially if you need enough meat to go around for the whole family), and you can still create a tender, juicy final product that feels indulgent. If you step up to the meat counter and you’re completely lost and confused, talk to the butcher! They’ll likely be able to steer you in a direction that works for your wallet and your taste.
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Now, let’s go over a couple of ground rules when it comes to preparing your beauteous steak dinner. First, make sure that your steak is at room temperature when you start in to cook it. This will ensure that your steak will be as tender as it can possibly be. Second, get your pan ultra-hot, so that when le steak hits le pan, you’re bound to get that perfect, crusty sear. This, my friends, is truly key. Third, don’t let neighboring steaks touch each other. This is going to create steam, which leads to gray meat, which leads to sad, defeated faces. Avoid all of that.
Fourth, when the steak is cooking, don’t touch it or fuss with it! #Trust #The #Process. Baste it with butter towards the end, but otherwise, there’s no need to be actively fiddling with the pan. If you have a meat thermometer, use it! There’s nothing worse than an overcooked steak. Fifth and finally (a lot of rules, I know, but it’s all worth it), let your steak rest for at least 10 minutes at the end. This allows the juices to be re-absorbed into the steak, rather than losing them as casualties to your cutting board (a travesty, indeed).
If you’re feeling ultra-decadent, go ahead and make a nice compound butter to complement the steak. A simple yet brightly zesty Lemon-Herb Butter can easily get the job done, but if you’re wanting to seriously elevate and impress, we’re not going to hold you back from this Vanilla-Cabernet Butter. Both are equally delightful and can be made and frozen ahead of time, so that you can use them whenever you dang want to.
Because you are a well-balanced carnivore who eats vegetables with your impressive steak dinner, you better not even think about wiping that steak pan clear and letting those flavorful juices go to waste. Toss anything from potatoes, to Brussels sprouts, to mushrooms, to asparagus in the already hot pan with some minced garlic and chopped onions, and let the veggies absorb all of that rendered fat. Look at that magic, you one-pan wonder! Now remind me, who said you need to go to your local steakhouse for a great cut of meat? Because it sounds like you’re on your way to a mighty fine, home-cooked steak dinner.