Cooking Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet
I’m afraid I’ve been spoiled by cooking my steak in a cast iron skillet. So much so that I can’t even remember the last time I threw one on the grill. The cast iron skillet allows a steak to be seared and then cooked in its own juices under the broiler.
There are two key parts to the equation; preparing the pan and seasoning the meat. First, the pan. Heat your oven to its highest temperature (usually 500 degrees F) with the cast iron pan inside. It may take a while until the pan is completely heated. When the pan has reached the temperature of the oven, remove it place over a lit burner (this works best with a gas range) for a few minutes to let the pan soak up more heat.
While you are heating the pan, make sure your steak has been taken out of the refrigerator and allowed to warm up to room temperature. Season the steak with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (this is my steak rub). Rub in the seasonings to make sure the steak is evenly coated on both sides. Be careful not over season, as the seasonings are there to enhance the flavor of the meat, not cover it up. On one side of the steak, rub (or spray) a little olive oil in to cover the surface. This will be the first side placed down the heated pan.
Place your steak, oiled side down, in the heated pan while still on the burner. DO NOT touch the steak for at least 1 1/2 to 2 minutes while it is searing. The meat and seasonings will form a crust and the steak with slightly separate from the pan. With a pair of tongs, flip the steak once and allow the other side to sear. After searing the second side for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, remove the pan from the stovetop and place under the broiler. The time you leave it under the broiler depends on how well done you want your steak. Five to six minutes should be adequate for a 1 1/2 inch steak to be cooked medium rare. Cook it longer or shorter to your liking.
The drippings in the pan make a great base for a red wine sauce, but I tend to enjoy my steaks plain or with my bleu cheese butter. A close second is chimi churri sauce.
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