The technique of reverse-searing steak—roasting it in a low oven for half an hour and finishing it in a screaming hot pan—sounds awesome! I hope to try it one day. Tonight, however, I will use brute force alone to make perfectly decent dinner. As you sweat over achieving the proper internal temperature, remember that overcooked steak is irrevocable. Undercooked meat can always be salvaged. Thermometers make the task easier. Cutting into the steak to assess doneness is fine, too. If it’s not ready, keep cooking it whole or, as I often do, slice it and toss the oh-shit-they’re-still-raw pieces back into the hot skillet for a bit. If you’re making something as anxiety-producing as a spendy steak, make sure you don’t also attempt the Ultimate or Best-Ever side dish. A tomato salad, with ripe stuff from a farmers’ market, will do.
Generously season the steaks1 all over with salt (a generous tablespoon total). Heat a cast-iron griddle or skillet (wide enough to hold the steaks with a few inches between them) over high heat until it starts to smoke.
1Straight from the fridge, no bring-to-room-temperature forethought necessary.
Add a generous splash of oil to the griddle or skillet and wipe it onto the surface with a paper towel. Add the steaks and cook, without messing with them, until the bottoms are a deep brown color, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook until your smoke alarm goes off and the second sides are deep brown, 4 to 6 minutes more. A couple minutes before they’re good and brown, stick a thermometer into the center of the steaks.2 When the thermometer registers 125°F (for medium-rare) to 135°F (for medium), transfer the steak to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, apologize to your family for the smoke that has filled your apartment.
2Only the gifted and the damned will attempt to forgo a thermometer, but sure, use a finger-poke technique if you dare.
Once the steak has rested, put the tomatoes and arugula on a large serving plate, sprinkle them with salt3, generously drizzle with olive oil4, and add splashes of vinegar5 to taste. Slice the steak against the grain, put it on a plate, and serve.
3It’s better with flaky sea salt, but you don’t have any flaky sea salt.
4It’s better with high-quality olive oil, but you don’t have any high-quality olive oil.
JJ Goode helps great chefs write cookbooks.