Let me start by warning the vegetarians or meat-haters among you: this post is not for you. Unless, of course, you have secretly been wanting to make a tasty, beefy life-changing decision, in which case I encourage you to Make The Change. No, this is more for those of us who like our meat and I mean REALLY like our meat--or those of us who love someone who loves meat.
I'm not going to tell you what you should serve with this (pan sauce with sliced crimini mushrooms, shallots & dijon, gently-steamed asparagus with a squeeze of lemon, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes laden with pastured butter & a little cream, molten chocolate cakes for dessert), or that you should save it for a special occasion (anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine's Day, International Steak & Blowjob Day), or that you should only eat a little of the steak and save the rest for a sandwich the next day. This is about pure, meaty indulgence. If you don't understand what that means, nothing I say can help you.
But if you do know what I'm talking about, if your idea of a good time involves a lengthy conversation with your tried-and-true neighborhood butcher, if you're not afraid of high heat and spattering fat and eating an unapologetically indulgent meal--this one's for you.
This is less a recipe & more a technique, and it starts with a very, very hot oven. I use my favorite well-seasoned Le Creuset cast iron skillet for this, and I recommend it without hesitation. You will absolutely need something oven-safe to 500F. I also recommend using the longest tongs you own. Mine are 16" long, stainless steel, and I still sometimes get spattered. Wear an apron and keep your oven mitts close at hand (or ON your hands, if you're clumsy & forgetful like me). For you fellow bourgeois assholes, this is the kind of thing you cook BEFORE the cleaning lady comes, not after. Your stove is going to be a mess...but your tummy will be happy.
- The very best boneless ribeye you can afford, cut thick. My favorite steaks are organic, grass-fed, and at least 1.25" thick. Leave them on your kitchen counter for at least 30 minutes before you start this so that they aren't fridge-cold.
- Lots of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
(seriously, that's it.)
Then do this:
- Start by preheating your oven to 500F. Put your skillet in the oven and let it heat up at the same time.
- While your oven is preheating, prepare the meat! Pat your steaks dry with paper towels and liberally sprinkle both sides with the salt & pepper. I like a medium amount of salt & a serious amount of pepper, but those quantities are up to you.
- Turn your biggest stovetop burner on HIGH. The highest it can go. I have a consumer-grade gas stove with two "power burners", and you best believe I use one of those burners for this kind of fun. Put your oven mitts on and move your skillet from the oven to the burner. Immediately place your steaks in the pan. If you have a range hood, turn it on high! Do not turn off the oven yet.
(steaks go in the pan)
The meat should immediately begin sizzling. Leave it alone for 2-3 minutes, or until a deep brown crust has formed. (You'll notice that I didn't tell you to put any fat in the pan first. If you use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, and if your steaks are sufficiently fatty, you won't need it. Ribeyes are not filet mignon--they come with their own fat.) Once you see that deep brown color, flip the meat and sear the other side (this should take just under 2 minutes).
Put your oven mitts on again and move the pan back to your 500F oven. After 3 minutes, flip the steaks in the pan. Give them 3 more minutes for medium, or just 1-2 for medium rare. This is where a more responsible cook would tell you to use a meat thermometer to make sure things are at the right temperature/doneness. If you like that kind of thing, go for it. I test doneness by touch, and there's no better guide for how to do that than the one at Simply Recipes. Keep in mind that the meat will keep cooking after it's come out of the pan, and that overdone steak is a criminal offense in some countries.
Remove the meat to a platter & loosely tent with foil for at least 5 minutes.
(This is when I do all of the other things that make this a dinner & not just a caveman-meatfest. At this point, my asparagus is already prepped & in a pan, my potatoes are boiled & just need to be mashed, and my pan sauce mise en place is ready to go. I've made this dinner so many times that the 5-minute resting period is all I need, but if you're not sure about timing, you can mash your potatoes while the steaks are in the oven, just leave them in the pot to stay warm. Pan sauce obviously needs to wait until the steaks are out. Asparagus shouldn't be in the water for more than 3 minutes. Please do not boil your asparagus to death. That is also a felony offense in these parts.)
These are perfectly delicious steaks on their own, but if you like the pan sauce idea, here you go.
(makes pan sauce for 2 people)
- 4-5 crimini mushrooms, halved & sliced thin
- 1-2 large shallots, finely minced
- 1tbs dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup beef stock, or red wine, or even low-sodium chicken stock if that's all you have on hand
- 1tbs cold butter
Then do this:
- After you've removed your steaks to the platter & tented them with foil, return the skillet to the stovetop over medium-high heat. If there's a lot of fat in the pan, remove all but 1 tbs.
- Sauté the mushrooms & shallots in the beef fat until the mushrooms have released their liquid & the shallots are beginning to caramelize. You probably won't need to add any salt to this since there will be some in the pan from the steaks, but you can always taste the sautéing vegetables to make sure.
- Add whatever liquid you're using & use a wooden spoon to scrape up any fond on the bottom of the pan. That is where deliciousness is made.
- Whisk in the dijon mustard until it's completely combined. Let the mixture bubble & reduce by about 50%.
- Remove the pan from the heat & whisk in the cold butter. Add in any juices that have accumulated while your steaks have been resting. Pour over your steak & potatoes, then use whatever pan sauce is left to moisturize your face. It's Just That Good.