Having a smaller gathering for the holidays and don’t want to commit to a large roast or centerpiece? There are plenty of low-effort ways to make a special and celebratory meal for the occasion. At FreshDirect, when we want to treat ourselves to a restaurant-quality dinner at home, we look to the meat section for a nice cut of beef. All it really needs is some salt, pepper, and a sear in a hot pan before it’s ready to carve up and savor.
The cuts of beef that typically come to mind when recreating the steakhouse at home are the rib-eye and the strip, which are loved for their big flavor and good distribution of marbled fat. For something leaner with a distinct tenderness, filet mignon is the way to go. And for a budget-friendly option that gives great value for your buck, you can always look to the reliable balance of sirloin, or the robust meatiness of the hanger, skirt, or flank.
In addition to the beef, you’ll want to have some freshly-ground pepper, good sea salt, and a neutral, high smoke point oil (I.e. vegetable oil). Also, make sure you have a sturdy, heavy-bottomed pan for cooking in—cast iron is ideal. Your typical aluminum sauté pan is too flimsy to retain heat, making it difficult to get the sear you want.
If you want, you can serve your steak with butter and fresh herbs, or a sauce to amp up the moistness and flavor—we’ve got a few recipes for that here. And on the side, a simple salad or potatoes of any sort (including and especially French fries).
Ready to cook? Here are the basic steps:
Basic Steak Recipe
What You’ll Need
Any cut of steak
Coarse sea salt
Freshly-ground black pepper
Neutral cooking oil
What To Do:
If using thicker steaks (1” or more), preheat the oven to 400 F for cooking to desired doneness as needed.
Heat a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. While pan is heating, season steak all over generously with salt and pepper.
When you’re ready to cook, add the steaks to the pan—if you’re cooking multiple servings, only add as many as can fit with plenty of space; cook the rest in batches. Sear the steaks without disturbing until browned and seared on bottom, about 5 minutes for most (you may want to reduce the time for thinner steaks). Flip and cook on other side until seared, about 5 minutes more.
If you want to cook your steaks further at this point, transfer the pan to the oven—you can gauge doneness using a meat thermometer; medium is 145 F. Once finished, let the steaks rest under a layer of kitchen foil for at least 5 minutes. Cut or slice against the natural grain of the meat. Garnish with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs, or drizzle with sauce as desired.