1 1-1/2 to 2-inch thick steak (in class, we use strip steaks)
1/4 pound (one stick) unsalted butter
Steak in a pan with butter
The name of this recipe is stolen from the TV show Mad Men. We have no idea if this is how they make it, but it’s an accurate description. We learned it from Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, by way of eGullet founder Steven Shaw, aka Fat Guy.
At least two hours before cooking, remove the steak from refrigerator and salt it liberally on both sides. Cover until ready to cook.
When ready to cook, heat a cast-iron pan over medium-high until the handle is very warm and a drop of water bounces in the pan. Depending on your cooktop and the size of the pan, this might take five to as many as 20 minutes.
Pat the steak dry. When the pan is hot, place the steak on one of its edges in the pan.
Cook for one minute, then rotate to another edge. Continue until the entire circumference of the steak is seared.
Remove the steak from the pan and the pan from the burner. Turn the heat to medium low. Wait one minute, then add the butter and let it melt.
Return the steak to the pan, this time laying it on one side. The butter should sizzle and bubble but not burn. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain bubbling around the edge of the steak.
Cook for one minute, basting the steak with the butter. Flip and cook for another minute, still basting. Repeat this five times, then check the temperature. You’re looking for 112–115° F for medium-rare. It probably won’t be there yet, so continue flipping and basting. You may have to do as many as ten or twelve flips.
Remove the steak to a rack. Let rest ten minutes. Slice into 3/8-thick slices and serve.