True story/embarrassing admission: I didn’t learn how to properly cook a steak until fairly recently. Before you decide it’s not worth reading the rest of this recipe from some steak poser, hear me out:
I’ve always loved steak. That was never the problem. But I didn’t grow up eating it very often: my Russian-Jewish mom excelled at cooking every kind of fish in every kind of way (broiled, fried, pickled, smoked, cured, etc.) but when it came to meat, she almost always opted for chicken. As a result, I never learned how to properly cook a steak. But boy, oh boy, did I have a taste for it.
Having steak and potatoes for dinner was what my friends did with their families on Friday nights. Going out to steakhouses is what they did to celebrate special occasions, and throwing a steak on the grill was a perfect weekend BBQ activity. To me, a kid growing up in suburban Ohio, steak came to represent wholesome American family life and I absolutely loved that. To this day, the prospect of eating a delicious steak makes me giddy with excitement.
A few years ago I finally decided it was time to learn how to make a proper steak at home instead of shelling out at restaurants whenever the red meat craving hit (I’d say that entering into a long-term relationship with a Brazilian man who literally grew up on churrasco was the tipping point). To my pleasant surprise, it turned out that cooking a really great steak at home is just about the easiest thing ever: if you’ve got a good cut of meat, the leg work required to turn it into an epic meal is minimal.
The below recipe represents everything I love about a steak dinner: a perfectly pan-seared steak is the star of the show, complimented by an umami-packed spicy anchovy compound butter, sitting on top of crispy and chewy egg noodles dressed in lemon juice, more compound butter, and garlicky meat-basting juices. It’s flavorful as heck, sorta fancy, and totally unpretentious because that’s how I roll.
PS: I find it poetic that even though this is a steak recipe, there’s a little bit of tinned fish involved. Love you mom!
Pan-seared strip steak with spicy garlic anchovy butter
(served with crispy lemon garlic noodles)
WHAT YOU NEED
For the spicy garlic anchovy compound butter:
*makes extra but trust me you’ll wanna use it over and over again
1 stick butter, room temp
4-6 anchovy filets, finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp Bomba Calabrese or chopped Calabrian chili
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp garlic, grated
For the noodles:
2 servings of thin egg noodles (can substitute with angel hair pasta)
Juice of half a lemon (+ some zest)
2 tbsp spicy garlic anchovy compound butter
2-3 tbsp noodle water
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt to taste
For the steak:
1 NY strip steak
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tbsp butter
WHAT YOU DO
First up, take your steak out of the fridge and bring it to room temp for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, let’s make compound butter: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until everything is distributed evenly. Taste! If you’d like it to be spicier, add more chili, etc.
You’ve got a couple options for refrigeration: you can either store the butter in a small Tupperware/deli container OR you can twist the butter into a log using plastic wrap.
For plastic wrap log:
Place the softened butter on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll it up into a log, twisting the ends, to form a little butter log. Refrigerate!
If the plastic wrap log isn’t your jam, you can also store the butter in a small Tupperware or deli container. When it’s time to use, run a small spoon under hot water and scoop as much butter as you need (sort of like scooping ice cream, know what I mean?).
While the butter is cooling/solidifying in the fridge, get a large pot of salted water going for the noodles. And while the water is heating, let’s make our steak! (Huge fan of efficiency and timing, over here).
Season the steak liberally with Kosher salt on both sides. Heat a cast iron skillet on high. Add a tbsp or so of neutral oil to the skillet and when it starts shimmering + you can feel the heat emanating from the skillet, gently place your steak down facing it AWAY from you (I’ve experienced the fallacies of placing protein in a hot oiled skillet pointing towards your face first hand during my line cooking days. I’ll save you some oil burns and painful spritzes if you just listen to me).
Cook the steak for 3 minutes, then flip. It should develop a gorgeous golden crust!
Cook the next side for about 2 minutes. At the 2 minute mark, add a tbsp of butter and your peeled/smashed garlic cloves to pan and baste the steak with garlic butter. If you’ve never basted a steak before it’s super simple: don an oven mitt, grab the handle of your skillet, and tilt it towards you. The melted butter and garlic will form a foamy pool at the edge of the skillet and you’re going to use a spoon to repeatedly bathe the steak in this foamy garlic butter. Besides smelling awesome, this step does a lot for the flavor of the steak.
After basting for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, remove the steak from the skillet and allow it to rest for 10 minutes on a cooling rack or cutting board but don’t you DARE dispose of the glorious crusty steak pan – it has many a use for us in the future.
Did you think we were just going to twiddle our thumbs while the steak rests and the butter finishes cooling? Don’t be ridiculous, we got things to do! It’s noodle time and if you’ve followed my instructions, your salted water should be boiling.
Cook whatever noodles you’re using according to the instructions. I really love a thin egg noodle for this dish but you can use angel hair, rice noodles, vermicelli, spaghetti…whatever you’ve got on hand. Ramen noodles would be awesome!
Once the noodles are cooked al dente, use tongs to transport them to the cast-iron skillet which should still be very hot and have leftover garlic in it. Throw in a couple tbsp of pasta water, as well, to help deglaze the pan. Turn the heat up and toss the noodles around so they become coated in all the flavors leftover at the bottom of the skillet. Squeeze half a lemon, and salt to taste. You know that compound butter we made? Throw in a tbsp of that as well and toss. Turn off the heat and set the skillet with the noodles aside. Because the cast iron skillet is so hot, the noodles at the bottom will crisp up a bit which I find delicious. If you’d prefer un-crispy noodles, simply remove the noodles from the cast iron skillet and into whatever vessel you’re using to serve the noods + steak.
How cool is it that we’re now ready to cut the steak? I’m telling you when kitchen timing works out it feels SO DAMN GOOD. It’s kind of like when you swipe your card to enter the subway station and the train you need literally pulls up right as you do. It’s magic, baby.
Slice the steak in 1 cm strips, cutting against the grain. Place the steak strips on your bed of crispy (or non-crispy) noodles, top with a round of compound butter, and serve.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2020