Making a pan seared steak come out right is easier than you may think. We cover this steak in a delicious sauce made from butter, wine and cilantro!
It's a well-known fact in my neighborhood that my husband can't grill a steak to save his life. I love the man dearly and he has made several wonderful things on the grill (bacon-wrapped cheeseburgers anyone?), but he just can't cook a steak on the grill. He always ends up over-cooking it and it tastes like shoe leather.
If you watch many cooking shows, you will see that they often will cook steak on the stove, not on a grill. Done correctly, a good pan seared steak can be more delicious than anything you can do on the grill!
The key to success when cooking a steak on the stove is using a good quality pan. I have tried this with cheaper pans, and it does not work. Your steak will burn before it's cooked. A good quality, heavy-bottom pan will evenly distribute the heat and prevent burning. That being said, if at any point it appears that your steak is cooking too high, turn the heat down a little. You want to hear a nice sizzle the entire time it's cooking, but it will be fairly obvious if the heat is too high.
If you have time, I suggest salting the steak 24 hours in advance. I'm not a food scientist so I don't know exactly why or how it makes it better, but my steaks always have a better flavor when I salt them the day before.
We used grapeseed oil because it can withstand high temperatures, but you can use any kind of oil you want as long as it has a high smoke point and a neutral flavor. Some others would be peanut oil, sunflower oil, or corn oil.
We like our steak medium-rare, so this is cooked for exactly three minutes on each side and allowed to rest. This is almost foolproof when cooking a 1″ steak, but using an instant-read meat thermometer will ensure you get the steak done exactly to your liking. Medium-rare should register at 135, medium at 140, and medium-well at 150 degrees.
Scroll down for the recipe!
- 1 14-ounce steak (we used a top sirloin steak)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 - 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- Remove the steak from the refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes before you're ready to cook it.
- Place a cast iron pan or good quality stainless steel pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil.
- When the oil is smoking, lay the steak in the pan and leave it alone for one minute.
- After one minute, wiggle the steak around to make sure it's not sticking.
- When the steak has cooked for exactly 3 minutes, go ahead and flip it over to the other side.
- Let it cook for three minutes exactly the same way as the first three minutes. If at any point it appears to be cooking too hot, turn the heat down a bit. (see notes)
- Remove the pan from the heat, and place the steak on a cutting board to rest.
- Immediately pour a half a cup of white wine into the pan to deglaze it. Add the garlic.
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the bits at the bottom.
- When the wine has reduced by half, remove the pan from the heat, and add the butter along with a pinch of pepper.
- Shake the pan vigorously back and forth to emulsify (or combine) the sauce.
- When the butter has completely melted and the sauce has thickened, add the cilantro and stir to combine.
- When the steak has rested for 5 to 10 minutes, cut it thick slices and arrange it on your plate.
- Drizzle the sauce over the steak and enjoy!