Steak Basics

I don't talk much about the meat from the box, but the time has come. I. Am. In. Love. Addicted. Hopeless. The quality of this meat is so good I had forgotten the taste of ordinary store-bought ground beef and especially steak. My husband prepares a mean steak, but steaks are all about the quality of the beef and it is hard to fake.

He takes a minimalist approach to his preparation, but considers the small choices to be essential. First, before everything else, make sure the steaks are fully thawed and let the meat breath for at least 10 minutes. He flips the steaks and rubs them with a very light touch of olive oil and then sprinkles them with salt.

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While he's doing this, he lets the pan get blisteringly hot. A solid sear to create a crust to seal in the juices is important: He drops a thin layer of oil into the hot pan and lays the meat down on one side, throwing a quick coating of salt and a sprinkle of sage* onto the raw topside before flipping and repeating the motion in 15-30 seconds. After a good sear on the main surfaces, he uses tongs to sear the sides and carefully ensures that there isn't even a single gap in the crust.

Lastly, he turns the heat way down and lets the meat warm to the perfect internal mode. He prefers blue rare, but I like mine a little more civilized. He continues with a light sprinkle of salt and sage throughout the cooking. Salt helps to ensure the meat is tender, and a neat brine wash in the fridge while it thaws is not a bad idea. The sage is better fresh—just a sprig of it in the pan during this last warming process is wonderful, though a little extra oil must be used. Sage adds a faint mild flavor that counteracts the slight dark, smoke flavor of the sear and leaves you with a sensation of "nothing but the meat" to enjoy.

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Here he serves it with peppers, onions, and mushrooms, allowing the veggies (and fungus!) to take the role of flavor so the meat can just be juicy, melting in our mouths.

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Do you have a favorite way to cook a steak?

Let us know what you prefer so we can try it—or if you think the minimalist approach is better than fancy sauces and marinades.