The Perfect Steak

For many years (42 this week) I have tried to prepare the perfect steak in my kitchen.  This year I got serious about it and decided to experiment with seasonings, cooking times and methods.  The following procedure is the result of my quest. Vegetarians beware!  This recipe is not for you. 

The Perfect Steak

First, go to a butcher you trust.  For me it's Ralph's in Baton Rouge or LeBlanc's Food Store since we moved to Zachary.  Ask to have beef filets cut to your specifications.  I always ask for a 6 oz. filet mignon that is 1 1/4 inch thick for each person.  Don't accept the ones sitting on the meat counter.  Ask for center cuts that are  similar in size and shape. Most butchers are happy to do this for you.  They like people who know a good cut!  Filet mignon is expensive, but so delicious! We don't eat it very often, so what they heck?  It's definitely a special occasion meal.

The steak is seared on the stovetop and finished in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees before beginning. 

Sprinkle coarse black pepper and coarse sea salt in a flat dish.  Coat each side of the meat by pressing it into the salt and pepper mixture. 

Meanwhile, heat about 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (Canola preferred) in a large cast iron skillet.  A 10 inch pan is best for two steaks.  You don't want to "crowd" the meat or it won't brown well. Use a medium high heat.  That's important.  Too low heat will not provide a browned exterior and too high heat will cause the cooking oil to disintegrate and smoke.  If cooking on an electric stove, start the heat on medium high and turn it down to medium during the last few minutes.  Gas stoves are easier to control, in my opinion. 

Next, sear the steaks in the preheated oil on the stovetop for precisely 6 minutes on each side.  Use your kitchen timer for this step. They will be browned and have a peppery crust.

After searing each side, place the skillet with the steaks still in it into the oven.  Set the kitchen timer at 5 minutes for a rare steak.  Six minutes is required for a pink center.  Seven or more minutes are required for a well done piece of meat. 

When the skillet is removed from the oven, allow the steaks to "rest" for about 3 or 4 minutes.  During the resting time, you can butter your baked potato and squeeze some lemon juice and butter on your steamed broccoli. 

Enjoy the high life of a perfectly cooked filet mignon!

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