Sometimes, after a long week at work, all we want to do is sit down and eat a gigantic slab of red meat, and the ribeye is just about our favorite cut to eat. Learning how to make a good steak at home will save you a lot of money, because you can easily get two good steaks at the butcher’s for the price of one inferior steak at a steakhouse; you also get to control how done your meat gets. We don’t mess around with fancy rubs or complex seasonings – a good steak is the result more of good technique as opposed to added flavors. If you have a choice in the matter, buy your steaks with the bone still in, because when you’re cooking these at home, you can gnaw that bone like a caveman. When you get your steaks home, allow them to come up to room temperature. They won’t spoil, and they’ll cook more evenly. While the steaks are warming up, you can get started on your peas.
Sugar Snap Peas with Garlic and Pancetta
- 1 pound fresh sugar snap peas
- 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
In a cast iron skillet, heat the teaspoon olive oil over medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook the pancetta until crisp and brown, taking care that it does not stick. Spoon the pancetta into a bowl; retain the rendered fat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Don’t be shy with the salt – I usually use just under 1/4 cup for about a quart of water. When the water is boiling rapidly, add the peas, boiling for no more than about five minutes; overcooking these is a real tragedy. Plunge the peas into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. The peas will keep in the water until you’re ready for them, so if you’d like to start your steaks using the instructions below, you can finish the peas later. When you get ready to finish them, heat the tablespoon of olive oil and butter in a skillet and add the peas, gently tossing to coat them. When the peas have heated through, add the pancetta and garlic, cooking just until you can smell the garlic start to cook; serve.
Cooking the steak isn’t difficult, but I like to use a two-step process. Forget putting one of these beauties on the grill – that’s just asking to dry it out. What we want to do is sear the steak in cast iron skillet to get a good crust formed and then finish the meat in a hot oven until we’ve achieved our desired level of doneness (never more than medium-rare in my house, but to each their own). To cook, pat each steak dry with a paper towel and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the rendered fat you saved from cooking the pancetta until almost smoking, and quickly sear the steaks on both sides. You aren’t trying to completely cook the steak on the stove-top, you’re going for a good outside crust and dark color. Finish the steaks by placing them in a 300 degree oven until they’re as done as you like them. This gives you a very juicy steak with a wonderfully flavored outside. A good cut of meat doesn’t need anything to season it beyond the salt and pepper, and good technique will provide more flavor than any rub. Let the steak rest for about fifteen minutes and serve with the peas. Enjoy!