Cold Pan Seared Steak
Yield: 2-4 servings
Perfectly cooked steaks with a gorgeous crust and tender, juicy insides are easy to achieve with this unorthodox method. No smoky, splattered mess on your stovetop either!


Ingredients

  • 2 New York strip or ribeye steaks (about 16-ounces each), 1½-2 inches thick* 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional for serving (delicious if you’re a sauce person but truly not needed!): Italian Salsa Verde or Romesco Sauce

Instructions

  1. BEFORE YOU BEGIN… For an easy, flavor-enhancing dry brine if you have time, salt the steaks at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours before cooking: Sprinkle steaks on both sides and edges (use 1 teaspoon Morton kosher salt per pound of meat; the conversion if using Diamond Crystal brand is slightly less than double; for table salt, use ¾ teaspoon per pound of steak) and then refrigerate them, uncovered, on a rack set over a baking sheet. (Be sure to use nonreactive metal; otherwise, line the baking sheet with parchment paper.)

    When ready to cookFor more even cooking, allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour before cooking. (If time is tight, even 5-10 minutes is better than nothing.) Very lightly oil a 12-inch nonstick, cast iron, or carbon-steel skillet. I use a small piece of paper towel to spread a thin film over the surface. Too much oil will create smoke and spatter.

    Just before placing in the cold pan, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides with pepper (and salt if you didn’t do the optional dry brine).

    Place the steaks 1 inch apart in the cold skillet. Tip: Arrange so the narrow part of one steak is opposite the wider part of second.

    Place the skillet over high heat and cook the chops for 2 minutes. Tip: I set a timer because the time goes quickly.

    Flip the chops and cook on the second side for 2 minutes. The steaks will be grayish at this point – that’s ok. If they stick a bit, give them an extra 30 seconds, and then very gently pry them away from the pan.

    Flip the steaks again; reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook, flipping every 2 minutes, until the exteriors are well browned, and the center of the steaks registers your preferred level of doneness, about 8-12 minutes longer. (Target temperatures: Rare: 120°–125°; Medium Rare: 130°–135°; Medium: 140°–145°; Medium Well 150°–155°; Well Done: 160°–165°.

    Helpful hint: Steaks should be lightly sizzling. If not, increase the heat slightly. Conversely, reduce the heat to medium low if the skillet starts to smoke or if the steaks start browning too much.

    Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Season with an additional sprinkle of coarse salt and/or pepper to taste.


Notes

*For best results with this method, the steaks should be no less than 1½ inches thick and no more than 2 inches thick. This allows the chops time to develop a golden-brown exterior as the insides cook to tender, juicy perfection.

Flavor tip: When you remove the steaks to a platter and let them rest, some juice will pool around them. Drizzle these juices overtop when serving, and if you have leftovers, drizzle any juice from the pan or serving plate over top before refrigerating. They are very flavorful!


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