Everyone should know how to prepare a perfectly cooked piece of beef with nothing but olive oil, salt and pepper. It begins with the cut of quality beef. I typically only buy steaks from Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market with thick cuts of certified black angus beef. Tenderloin and strip are the cuts I cook most often, but ribeye are my choice for the grill and when I’m feeling the urge for the fatty richness of a ribeye.
I do not usually grill steaks. Grilling imparts a smokey flavor that is nice but the method I’m giving highlights the pure flavor of the beef. So, here is how I cook a steak, this one was a thick tenderloin.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (or hotter).
Pat the steak very dry with a paper towel. It must be dry to make a brown crust properly, since any water will turn to steam and prevent searing.
Tie the steak with cotton kitchen string to make the steak cook evenly and have a uniform shape. Season the steak with olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is barely smoking or flicking water on the pan makes a hiss and the water instantly evaporates. If it smokes too much, pour a cup of water in the pan to reduce the temperature, then dump out the water and continue.
Place the steak into the pan and cook for three to four minutes.
This one was cooked three minutes, and I don’t think the pan was super hot, so the seared crust is light. It has a more tender surface when cooked this way but I usually put a darker crust on it. Cook for only two minutes on the second side. This shorter cooking makes the steak cook more evenly.
Place into the 450 degree oven for 4 minutes for medium rare, or 8 minutes for medium. I use a meat thermometer and remove the steak at 140 degrees internal temperature.
Let the steak rest for five minutes to let the juices absorb back into the meat.
Serve with a salad or roasted vegetables. Garnish with crab legs and an Italian red wine.
This variation had roasted brussels sprouts and Nebbiolo D’Alba.