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Pan-Searing Steaks

One of the pleasures of many restaurants is an open kitchen design. The diner can both enjoy a meal and be a spectator. Watching the kitchen at the peak of its dinner rush can be like watching a professional sports team in action: it’s physical, it’s coordinated, each “player” has a specific function that the rest of the “team” relies upon, and when the team scores, you, the diner, win.

One of the key “moves” in that professional kitchen is “finishing” a dish in the oven. A pan is used to sauté or sear on the stove top and then its popped into the oven for finishing.

Here’s one of my favorite ways to prepare a thick steak that uses this technique:

Start with thick steaks. We’re cooking at high heat here.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Season steaks with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a heavy ovenproof pan over medium-high heat for a five minutes. We want the pan to be very hot. I like to use my All-Clad pans for this.
4. When the pan is ready, add about two tablespoons of oil and sear the steaks for 4-5 minutes on one side.
5. Then turn the steaks and place the pan in the oven. The hot pan will sear the other side of the steak and the heat from the oven will finish cooking the interior.

Cooking Times
Cook for 5 minutes for rare, seven minutes for medium-rare,and nine minutes for medium.

6. Remove the pan from the oven. The pan will be HOTTER than you can imagine! Protect your hands. Put the pan on an unused burner at the back of the stove if you can and keep it out of the way. (I put an oven mitt on the pan’s handle to remind me not to grab it. Yes, I have done that.)
7. Let the meat rest for five minutes before serving.

Complementary Wines: Cahors, Crozes-Hermitage, Rioja

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