I’ve been hearing and reading about butter-basting steak for some years now, but I had sort of dismissed it. That was a mistake. I decided it was time to try it. Oh, yes. I should never have dismissed it. It was, note the past tense, incredibly rich and delicious. First of all, let’s be clear here. You want a nice, thick, at least 1 1/2-inches, well-marbled piece of meat. Marbling refers to those little spider-like veins of fat that run through really good quality meat. Don’t remove the fat cap (the layer of fat that covers the outside rim of the steak); that’s both flavor and moisture, right there. My favorite cut of steak is rib eye, but a New York strip will also work, as will good sirloin. But, a rib eye is a thing of beauty. It’s juicy and tender, with good marbling. It makes a mid-week meal truly special, not to mention a perfect steak for company. I pan-fry in an oven-proof skillet, and cast iron is my favorite. A cast iron skillet was made for such an “event”. This recipe is for 2 people, with leftovers. But, two steaks will easily serve four people and can be done in one pan, placing the onions in a separate pan.
I add the onions when I turn the steak and I add the tarragon with the onion slices. If you add the dried tarragon to the butter, the tarragon may burn, but adding it with the onions prevents this. After you turn the steak, and sear on the second side, basting with butter for at least 1 minute. Then, you’re going to slip that pan into the preheated, very hot oven and cook for exactly 5 minutes. That will get you a nice, pink, medium-rare steak. Also, resist any temptation to slice the meat immediately after removing the pan from the oven. The meat needs to rest to allow the juices to redistribute. The meat will be more juicy, and that’s just the whole reason for eating steak, isn’t it?
Butter-Basted Steak with Tarragon and Onions
- 1 thick, choice or prime rib eye (about 1 1/4 lbs), no less than 1 1/2-inches
- Kosher salt
- Garlic granules
- Onion granules
- Finely ground coffee
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Bring the meat to room temperature, about 30-60 minutes before cooking. Combine equal amounts of salt, pepper, coffee, garlic and onion granules; stir well. Sprinkle over each side of the meat. Let stand.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a skillet until screaming hot, over high heat. Pour the olive oil into the hot skillet; immediately place the steak (away from you) in the oil. Do not move the steak for 2 minutes. Add the butter, tarragon and onions to the opposite side. Using a tongs, turn the steak over. Again, leave it along, but tip the skillet a tad, and using a spoon, gather some of the butter, and baste the steak repeatedly for 3 minutes (again, do not move the meat). Turn the steak with the tongs (using the tongs). Place the skillet in the oven; pan-roast for 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove the pan from the oven. Place the steak on a plate, cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain. Serve, drizzled with pan juices and some onions on the side.
NOTE: You can simply season the meat with salt and pepper. It will still be delicious. Adding garlic granules with the salt and pepper, is also an excellent choice.
Butter-Basted Steak with Tarragon and Onions Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
In all honesty, this steak is more medium. The Spicy Honey distracted me, as he does, now and again, and I left this in the oven for about 7 1/2 minutes instead of 5. It was, however, still delicious.