Pan-Seared Steak with Pan Sauce

From Ian Urriola (’14)


One Ribeye steak (1-2″ thick, bone in or boneless)
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine
Fresh chopped herbs of your choice
Fresh cracked black pepper
1-2 T unsalted butter, chilled

Also needed:

10-12″ cast iron skillet
Instant read probe thermometer
Paper towel
9×13 baking dish (metal or plastic)
Aluminum foil
Spring-loaded tongs


The night before, liberally season your steak with the kosher salt on both sides. Then place the steak in a baking pan and stash it in the refrigerator over night. The salt will draw moisture out from the inside of the meat. When the salt and the liquid interacts, a concentrated solution will be created that will then be reabsorbed by the meat, thus seasoning the meat all the way through. Furthermore, the salt will also draw proteins to the surface, which will aid in crust formation.

The next day, place your cast iron skillet in to an oven and preheat it to 500 degrees. Allow the oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes to ensure that it holds on to the heat.
While the oven and skillet are preheating, take your steak out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature so that the steak will have a shorter thermal journey and will require less cooking time.
During this time, you may want to consider opening some windows and turning on some fans as this recipe produces a lot of smoke.
When the skillet and oven finish preheating (30 minutes), remove the skillet from the oven and place it on a stove-top burner set to high. Take caution when handling the skillet, as it will be rocket-hot.
Then dab a wad of paper towel into your vegetable oil and coat the surface of the skillet with a thin layer of the oil. There may be some smoke at this point, but that’s okay.
Place the steak in the skillet and let it sit on one side for 30 seconds untouched.
After 30 seconds, flip the steak onto its other side and let it sit for another 30 seconds, untouched.
When that time passes, flip the steak over again and put the skillet back in the 500 degree oven and let it sit for 2 minutes with the oven door closed.
When the 2 minutes pass, flip the steak again and put it back in for another 2 minutes.
At the end of the cooking process, the steak should have an internal temperature of around 115 degrees (which will coast up to 120 degrees during the resting period, a perfect medium-rare).
If you want your steak a little bit more cooked, add a minute to each side in the oven phase of the cooking (but why would you want to ruin a perfectly good steak by doing a thing like that?).
When the cooking process has ended, immediately remove the steak from the skillet and place it on a plate and loosely cover it with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for at least five minutes.
During this time, put the skillet back on the stove top and set it to medium.
There should be little brown bits stuck on the skillet.  This is called fond and it is culinary gold. To utilize it’s power, deglaze the skillet with the red wine and start lightly whisking the liquid to break up the bits (but taking care not to ruin the seasoned surface of your skillet).
Allow the wine to reduce for a couple of minutes.
After the liquid has reduced by at least a quarter to a third, add your fresh chopped herbs (parsley would be a nice choice) and fresh cracked black pepper (be generous with it).
Give the sauce a taste and season it with kosher salt as necessary.
Then add the one or two tablespoons of ice-cold unsalted butter to the sauce to help thicken it and bind it together.
Transfer the sauce to a small ramekin or serving bowl.
By this point, the steak should be done resting.
You can either serve the steak whole, or sliced thin on a bias and fanned out on the plate.
This application would be nicely paired with crispy roasted home fries, a leafy salad with a sweet and tangy dressing, and a glass of the same wine you used for the sauce.