I have always considered steak an outdoor food. Steak to me is something someone else throws on a grill, and you eat it once or twice in their yard and then you don’t think about it again for eleven months.
Lately, however, I have reconsidered my position. Maybe I need to look into my iron levels. All I know is that until recently I’d never cooked a steak in my life, and suddenly one day a slab of meat seemed like exactly the thing I wanted most in the world.
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Contrasted against say, ramen noodles, steak is unquestionably a pricier option. It is an investment piece, which is why I imagine so many people (me) are intimidated about cooking it. I am someone whose first question when approaching a new dish is — how hard will I cry when I ruin this? Steak just seems tailor made for waterworks. But it’s actually about as low maintenance a meal as it gets. It cooks super fast, is practically foolproof and it won’t ask you to fuss with individual portions.
There are plenty of different techniques out there for cooking steak on the stove, many of which involve getting the pan flaming hot in the oven first, but I prefer this one because it’s simpler. And when you stack the cost of a steak dinner at home against dining out or even the most mediocre delivery experience, it works out to be an incredibly special dinner that’s still budget friendly. It’s even more of a steal when you serve it with a cheap side dish.
Steak on a summertime grill is a fine thing, but on a wintry weeknight, when it’s already been dark for hours by the time dinner gets on the table, it’s completely next level and more than a little nostalgic. If wood paneling and velvet flocking were a meal, it’d be this. I’d keep it old school authentic and pleasingly low cost with baked potatoes and spinach, and happily follow with cheesecake or chocolate mousse, and Frank Sinatra crooning on Spotify.
Recipe: Old school rib eye
Inspired by The Speckled Palate
Makes 4 servings
- 1 1/4 pound piece of rib eye, roughly 2-inches thick and preferably brought to room temperature
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- A splash of wine, if you’d like
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. The pan must be totally hot before you add the meat.
- Meanwhile, blot your steak dry with a paper towel, and rub with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Cook the steak on for 9 – 10 minutes total, turning once or twice to get an even crust. If you have a meat thermometer, you’re looking for a temperature of 130°F – 140°F for medium rare.
- Remove from the pan and cover loosely with foil to rest at least 5 minutes and keep warm.
- Lower the heat and add the butter to the pan, scraping up the juices. Add a splash of whatever wine you’re already drinking, if you wish, and let bubble a minute.
- Plate up the steak and pour the butter over. Slice it for everyone at the table and serve.
Note: Your steak is a different thickness? Omaha steaks has a helpful guide to cooking times.
More easy weeknight dinners: