A pan-seared steak served with a wine-enriched pan sauce is a simple and elegant meal, and you don't have to wait until you got to a fancy restaurant to have it. Cooking the steaks in a searing hot pan for a few minutes, then flipping them over and basting them with a aromatic butter mixture will ensure evenly cooked steak, cooked to the temperature you desire. And while the meat rests, you can whip up a quick pan sauce using the steak drippings.
Does a pan sauce sound tricky? It isn't! Here's a primer on how to make a pan sauce, and how to fix one if it breaks.
Read more: The Food Lab: The Importance of Resting Meat
- For the steak:
- 4 steaks, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick, about 8-ounces each (see note)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 shallot, sliced thin
- For the pan sauce (optional):
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Season steaks generously on all surfaces with kosher salt and black pepper. Add vegetable oil to 12-inch, heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless steel skillet. Heat over high heat until oil just begins to smoke. Add steaks to pan, and cook without moving until deep golden-brown crust develops on first side, three to four minutes. Flip steaks over.
Add butter, thyme sprigs, and shallots to pan. Turn heat down to medium-high. Continue to cook, occasionally basting steaks by tilting pan towards you and spooning hot fat over surface of steaks. If steaks start to become too dark, turn lower heat. Continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in to center of steak registers 125°F for medium-rare (between three and seven minutes, depending on how powerful your range is). Remove steaks from pan, place on rack set in rimmed baking sheet, pour fat, shallots, and thyme from pan over steaks, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for until center of steak cools to 120°F (about ten minutes). Meanwhile, make pan sauce if desired.