How-To Cook Steak on the Stove Top

October 28, 2013

Despite being a semi-vegetarian and keeping red meat off my plate for 12 years, I LOVE steak. My mom always tells me how shocked she was when I decided to follow my older sister’s vegetarian proclamation as a 4th grader. As a 2 year old, I would eat mine and hers. This Friday, CT’s flight got in around dinner time, so I wanted to have a nice home cooked meal ready. First off, I want to say that I have never cooked steak before in my life or purchased red meat to cook at home, and have only ever seen steak cooked on a grill. 
Friday, I cooked steak on the stove top and it turned out great, so I wanted to share for those of us who don’t have a grill and still love a good steak.

Before you even start cooking, you need to know these three steps.

Step 1 – Buy Quality Meat
As a never before steak buyer, I immediately dialed my mom for help. The Whole Foods meat counter in Union Square is pretty intense, and I had no idea what to buy since nothing said “Filet Mignon.” I ended up buying two 1 ¾ inch thick pieces of a Beef Tenderloin Roast that the guy had to cut for me. You want to make sure that you get two pieces that are pretty much the same size so when you are cooking you don’t overcook a smaller one and under cook a larger piece.

Step 2 – Invest in a Grill Pan
The trick to cooking steak on the stove I learned was to have a pan that is evenly heated. A grill pan is great for this because it’s in a square unlike saucepans and has ridges to give you a grill-like cook. This kind of pan is also generally oven-safe so you can throw your steaks in the oven if you just can’t cook them as much as you like.

Step 3 – Use Your Hand As A Guide To Tell When Your Steak Is Done
The few times I have watched my dad or CT cook steak on the grill really paid off. My Dad always talks about this hand trick to tell how much you've cooked your steaks so you don’t overcook them. If you look at your hand palm up and relax your fingers, the part of your hand just below your thumb is how the steak should feel when it’s rare to medium-rare. Chart here.

Servings: 2

2, 1 ¾ thick Beef Tenderloin Roast pieces (a little under a lb)
1.5 tbsp Olive Oil
1.5 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Pepper

  1. Remove steak from the fridge and bring to about room temperature.
  2. Rinse steaks and pat dry.
  3. In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir together. With a brush, apply to each side of the steak, cover and let sit until you’re ready to cook.
  4. Coat the pan with the remaining olive oil (This should only be a thin layer). Heat pan of high heat. You want to make sure this pan gets really hot before you start cooking. Once the pan starts to emit light smoke, it’s hot enough to start cooking.
  5. Place both steaks on the pan and sear each side for about 3 minutes each.  
  6. Once you’ve cooked the tops and the bottoms, cook the sides. I used a spatula and knife for this step to hold the steaks on their sides. This step is to ensure you are cooking the meat thoroughly on all sides without burning the top or the bottom.
  7. Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit in the top to judge if it’s cooked to your liking. Red in the middle is rare, rosey pink is medium rare, and pink is medium.

I cooked my steaks flipping them from side to side and top to bottom for about 15 minutes all along doing the hand test to reach medium rare. 

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