How To Pan-Sear a Steak

Cooking How-To, Cooking Show, How-To
on June 30, 2011

In a recent Chef in Your Pocket Q&A (every Tuesday on Facebook), Relish contributor and wine diva Wini Moranville was on the quest for perfectly cooked steak.

Q: When pan-frying a steak, do you try to turn it just once, or do you turn and shift as needed?

A: Ideally, you want to cook each side one time. If you’re dealing with a very thin cut, like a small New York strip, you’ll actually cook it most of the way on the prettiest side, so that you get that great crust, then turn and cook briefly just to finish through. I do this for fish, chicken and pork too. But, it’s not a sin at all to flip the steak over a few times as you go.

The real key to getting great results is dialing in the temperature of the heat based on the size of the steak, or other piece of meat. For small or thin cuts, you want to cook over high heat, so that you can get the exterior you’re after before the interior is overcooked. For larger or thicker cuts, roll the heat off a bit, so that the interior has time to cook through while the exterior is caramelizing. Then, just be sure to give the steak plenty of time to rest before diving in—5-10 minutes is usually sufficient.

—By Brian Morris, Chef in Your Pocket