Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to cook a steak

I always used to have a lot of trouble pan-frying steaks. I could never get the interior warm without just burning the outside to ciders. However, after a great deal of research and experimentation, I happened across the answer -- stick it in the oven! Of course, if you just put it in the oven, you might get a well cooked steak, but you won't get the crust that makes a good crust great. You need to start it off in the pan, give it a crust, and then transfer it to an oven. Cast iron is a natural for this, since you can just take the pan you're frying it in, and stick in in the oven.

The other key is the amount of time. If you want to cook your steak medium-rare, which you should, you need to cook it for 10 minutes. This is pan frying and oven roasting combined. However, it depends on how thick the steak is. 10 minutes is for a steak roughly an inch thick, and you need to adjust if it's thicker or less thick. It's mostly an art, though I usually do 8 for a steak that's 1/2 of an inch thick, and I don't usually cook steaks that are more than an inch thick.

So here's how it goes. Grab a steak, about .4 pounds per person. My wife always wants .25 pounds per person, but I never think that that's enough, especially when it comes to steak. But you know what you like. It should be room temperature, so take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you intend to start cooking it, give it some salt and pepper, and let it sit.

Once it's sat on the counter for a while, put a cast iron pan on the stove and get it really, really hot. It doesn't need to be at the highest setting, but it needs to be up there. Fry it for between 1.5 and two minutes each side. Don't move it! You need to let it sit for it to develop a nice crust. Technically, you want to leave it until it slides freely and doesn't stick -- that's how you know it's developed that crust. But I'm vigorous enough in my shaking that that's a fine line. So I just really on the times above, and it works out fine. Once you've seared both sides, and maybe a bit before that second side is finished searing, stick it in a 450 degree oven. If you need the oven a different temperature for the vegetables you're doing with the steak, don't worry about it, you'll be okay.

After the time you've spent cooking the steak (frying + roasting) is 10 minutes, or whatever seems good to you, take the steak, put it back on the counter, and put some aluminium foil over it. Let it rest for about 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute themselves. After that, do what you want, you've got steak!

No comments:

Post a Comment