My method for cooking a steak at home is owed completely to Ruth Reichl, or probably more accurately, Ruth Reichl’s father. My husband claims I have ruined him for restaurant steaks with this method, and he may just be sweet-talking me, but they are tasty. The best results are with a good quality steak that has a lot of flavor. Since we only eat red meat a handful of times per year, I splurge on grass-finished beef, usually rib-eyes about 2″ thick with plenty of marbling.
Here is the method, as described in her book Garlic and Sapphires, The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise:
- Make sure the meat has thrown off the chill from the refrigerator, I take mine out at least an hour before cooking.
- Salt it generously when you take it out. I like to use sea salt, and I always salt it enough to think that I’ve salted it too much. That is never the case. I also like to use quite a bit of fresh ground black pepper.
- Heat the pan on medium-high for about 15 minutes, until drops of water dance and sizzle on its surface. I like grill pans, this one is mine.
- Cook the steaks for 8 minutes on each side, no messing with them except to flip them over once.
- Transfer the steaks to plates, add a pat of butter to the top of each.
- Let rest a few minutes before eating, and don’t ruin it with steak sauce.