Pan-seared steaks

June 25, 2008

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Serves 4

Strip steaks aren't cheap but they do have wonderful flavor and texture. Go with less expensive London broil if you prefer. Use a heavy-based skillet (cast-iron works well) so the steaks brown nicely without burning.

4 strip steaks (preferably 1 1/2 inches thick) or London broil (2 1/2 pounds total)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Sprinkle the steaks with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper; set aside.

2. In a 12-inch skillet with a heatproof handle, heat the oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until it's shimmering hot. Add the steaks (cook in two batches if necessary) and cook, without moving them, for 3 minutes or until the bottoms are browned. Use tongs to turn the steaks and cook for 2 minutes more or until the other side browns.

3. Sprinkle the steaks with rosemary and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steaks registers 130 degrees for medium rare (cook a few minutes longer for medium, or make a nick with a paring knife and check for a uniform pink color).

4. Set a couple of pieces of butter on each steak, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and set in a warm place for 5 minutes.

5. Thinly slice the steaks and divide among 4 dinner plates. Serve with smashed potatoes.

Tony Rosenfeld