The key to pan-seared steak is to start the steaks in a cool oven and then to sear them. By searing the steaks quickly, you keep the meat directly under the crust from turning gray.
Cooked this way, the steaks develop a beautiful brown crust in less than four minutes, while the rest of the meat stays pink, juicy, and tender.
Salt and ground black pepper
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Pat steaks dry with paper towel. Season entire surface of steaks liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; transfer baking sheet to oven. Cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of steak registers 90 to 95 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes, or 100 to 105 degrees for medium, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat (do not allow it to smoke). Place steaks in skillet and sear steaks until well-browned and crusty, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, lifting once halfway through to redistribute fat underneath each steak. (Reduce heat if food begins to burn.) Using tongs, turn steaks and cook until well browned on second side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.
- Transfer all steaks to wire cooling rack and reduce heat under pan to medium. Use tongs to stand 2 steaks on their sides. Holding steaks together, return to skillet and sear on all sides until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
- Transfer steaks to wire cooling rack and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes while preparing pan sauce. Arrange steaks on individual plates and spoon sauce over steaks; serve immediately.
Red Wine-Mushroom Pan Sauce
Makes about I cup
Prepare all ingredients for the pan sauce while the steaks are in the oven.
8 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Salt and ground black pepper
- Pour off any fat from skillet in which steaks were cooked and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Add shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 1 minute.
- Increase heat to high; add red wine and broth, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Simmer rapidly until liquid and mushrooms are reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes.
- Add vinegar, mustard, and any juices from resting steaks; cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
- Off heat, whisk in butter and thyme; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon sauce over steaks and serve immediately.