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Cast iron seared steak with miso butter

Masterful Cast Iron Seared Steak from Your Oven–for Two

It’s mid-Februrary and I’m working on a big grilling story for Fine Cooking magazine. {I’m far from impartial but this is a fantastic source for easy-to-celebratory recipes on the web you can trust.} But with temperatures in the teens, it’s not exactly ideal grilling season.

While you’ll still find me cooking outdoors wearing a down coat and headlamp, this the perfect time of year to master the indoor steak.

Believe it or not, you can get a wonderfully juicy steak with a seared crust using a standard oven. The key is a scorching-hot cooking surface.

Of course, I’m talking about cast iron. Whether you’re cooking a hamburger, pork chops or a steak dinner for two, the mighty, smooth cooking surface of a cast iron pan cannot be beat.

raw steak in cast iron pan

What Kind of Steak?

It can be any type of steak you like. Rib steaks and T-bone steaks are the most popular, for good reason. They will not let you down.

I decided to go with a top sirloin steak for a couple of reasons. For one thing, my beef producing friends tell me that they have a harder time selling sirloins. This cut is from the hip of the cow, so it’s not quite as tender as the “middle cuts.”

But it’s hard to beat for flavor. Plus, this cut is boneless. So unlike a bone-in steak cut, this steak sits fully on the pan’s surface to sear evenly. There’s no bone getting in the way.

Also, this sirloin is very lean with little trim so there’s more to enjoy and less to give to the dog.

It goes without saying that this steak is grassfed. The people who raised this cow are invested in grazing practices that restore soils and build carbon by stimulating plant growth. {It’s called regenerative agriculture, a term you may have heard already.}

Oven-Seared Steak

The cooking method for seared steak is so much simpler than most people think. Here are the general guidelines with more step-by-steps included in the recipe:

  1. Buy the best steak you can afford, preferably grassfed direct from a rancher.
  2. Season that steak generously with salt {see the photo above of the raw steak for reference}. Pepper is optional IMHO.
  3. Heat the pan until nearly smoking.
  4. Cook each side for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes for medium rare.
  5. Rest the steak with flavored butter {there’s some debate about the necessity of resting now, but don’t we all have some things to get done to put the meal together before we dive in anyway?}, slice and serve.

In the past, I always seared my steak on the stove top from start to finish. But I’m not going to lie–things get awfully smoky.

And the splatters? A mess.

So, here is a method for oven-seared steak that cuts down on those issues. And it produces a fabulous steak very reliably. You’ll still want to have a good stove exhaust fan set to high.

The key is to get that pan super hot while the oven preheats. I stole this from the bread baker’s technique for crusty breads. Then, put the cast iron pan over the burner to kick up the heat and lay the steak on the pan’s surface.

From here on out, it goes into the oven. You’ll give it a turn and finish cooking before letting it rest right in the pan. The butter goes on to melt and mingle with the steak juices while it rests.

But why in the world is there only one steak in that pan when it’s a steak for two?

One Seared Steak Serves Two (or More)

Well, if you’ve read any of my eat less meat posts, then you’ll already know that I subscribe to meat moderation. I find that four ounces max is just the right amount for me and my family.

That means one steak goes farther–especially on taco night or for a steak salad or wrap. And it holds for any cut of meat I might sear or grill. For this steak-for-two meal, I just add sides–and more sides = less meat.

sliced steak with green beans

Side Dishes for Seared Steak

If you’re planning on cooking a steak for your sweetheart or for a night in, this is the ticket with any of these awesome side dishes:

Chard gratin with stems recipe at lynnecurry.com.
Roasted cauliflower pilaf recipe at lynnecurry.com.
A plate of crispy sweet potato oven fries with parmesan and thyme at lynnecurry.com.
caramelized green beans in cast iron pan

Or, search my new Find a Recipe tool for more great sides.

There’s always a simple dressed green salad!

How to dress a simple green salad at lynnecurry.com.

How lucky that this Valentine’s falls on a Friday night. I hope you cook something special!

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Seared Sirloin Steak for Two with Garlic-Miso Butter

This quick, simple and very hot oven method is my favorite way to cook a steak indoors. The garlic miso butter deepens and enriches the flavors of the best (grassfed) beef. Top sirloin steak is a great choice for a boneless and lean cut, but you can use any stype of tender steak you prefer. With a couple of simple side dishes, this is a masterful way to make a great steak dinner at home.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword seared steak
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 2 People
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed into a paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons miso
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1-inch thick top sirloin steak (about 12-ounces)
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a dry cast iron skillet inside.

  2. Prepare the miso butter by blending together the garlic paste, miso, parsley and butter in a bowl. Season the steak generously with the salt (see top photo).

  3. Transfer the skillet from the oven to the stovetop and turn both the exhaust fan and the burner on high. When the skillet begins to smoke, place the steak in the center and cook for 30 seconds.

  4. Immediately transfer the steak to the oven (turn off the burner) and set a timer for 4 minutes. Use tongs to flip the steak and return to the oven for 2 minutes more.

  5. Remove the skillet from the oven to a heat-proof surface. Top with the prepared miso butter. Let it melt over the steak as it finishing cooking from more rare (122-128 F) to more medium (129-138 F), best determined with an instant-read thermometer. (For medium well to well over 140 F, just continue to let the steak rest in the pan where it will cook gently to a juice finish.)

  6. Transfer the steak to a cutting board to slice then return to the pan or transfer to a platter, spooning the melter butter and pan juices over the steak before serving.

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