Steak on the Stovetop

This is a story about trust.

And steaks.

And statistics.

When you’re cooking a slab of steak, you have to trust.

Trust that the marinade or rub has imparted enough flavor.

Trust that each side will turn out beautifully.

Trust that the steak will cook completely, to your desired doneness, after you let it rest.

When you’re looking at statistics though, you can’t always trust.

Sure, with statistics, you can spew out probabilities and predictions. But when you’re a human being dealing with statistics – say, you’re David Ortiz, designated hitter – numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes you can practically be a model for baseball statistics when you keep hitting it out of the ball park, and then one day defy all statistics and strike out. Or sometimes you hit walkoff home runs. 17 times.

A few years ago, my dad and I watched a Red Sox game in Fenway.  I was almost bouncing up and down with excitement, I was so happy to be there.  There we were, on iconic Fenway Park, my baseball-loving dad and I. We were waiting for Big Papi to do something big during the game. Something headline-worthy. Statistics show that’s what he does. We trusted him.

It was a hot day, with the sun beating down on us, and Big Papi fired up the crowds every time he went to bat. David Ortiz ended up hitting a home run that day, but the Sox lost. I felt disappointed. Drained. Hungry. My dad consoled me, even though he was the bigger fan. We went straight to Petit Robert Bistro. We shared some desserts. We ate more chocolate. Everything felt alright again.

My dad is my hero, and he has taught me a lot of things: how to trust people and exhibit loyalty; how to appreciate the beauty of numbers and the finiteness of formulas; how to understand statistics, economics, Roman history, Lord of the Rings, and many things in between; how to love books, as in really love them, and read lots of them; how to stay calm and control my temper; how to work hard, and to consistently work hard, for anything I am passionate about; how to relish all things sweet; and how to cook a steak.

I learned how to cook a great steak – with a golden brown crust, and a tender pink inside – on the stovetop.  No grill, no oven roasting time, but just with a hot pan, some seasonings, and a lot of patience.

Here’s the secret: once you put it on the pan, don’t touch it. Just flip it once, and don’t touch it again. Then let it rest. Trust.

Saveur has a basic tutorial on how to cook steak on the stovetop. Just know that there’s really no recipe. But there is a method:

Buy a tender, well-marbled cut (I am partial to ribeye), marinate it (maybe some garlic, soy sauce, and worcestershire sauce) or use a dry rub (here I used an Herbs de Provance salt mix on a steak that’s a little less than a pound). In a cast iron skillet or other heavy-duty pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Place the steak on the pan, and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on one side for medium rare steak. Don’t touch it! Then flip and do the same for the other side.  Remove steak from heat. Place a small knob of butter on top of the steak and let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes.

You’ll end up with the best steak you can cook at home. No statistics needed.

Cheers to my dad: steak-master, baseball follower, genius economist, fellow dessert-eater, leader, provider, protector, my biggest fan, my most enduring idol, the man I trust and love the most.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you from the bottom of my heart.


29 Responses to “Steak on the Stovetop”

  1. #
    Megan posted June 16, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Such a sweet post!

  2. #
    Sacha posted June 16, 2012 at 10:23 am

    So lovely! And you officially write the best Mother’s/Father’s day posts. I hope your dad will read it!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      Thank you Sasha! That means a lot to me!

  3. #
    Michelle posted June 16, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Such a sweet post for your dad!

  4. #
    Erica @ In And Around Town posted June 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Such a cute post! I never think to cook steak at home because I don’t have a grill – I will have to try now

  5. #
    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted June 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Great post, Bianca (and super cute into!)…. your relationship with your dad sounds very sweet.

  6. #
    Sherwin posted June 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

    You are officially my idol blogger, and I’m sure your dad will be proud and happy that he has raised an awesome daughter. :)

  7. #
    Heather posted June 17, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Aw, what a sweet post about your Dad! I love a good steak, sounds like such an easy way to prepare it perfectly!

  8. #
    Rhonda posted June 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Growing up the only way we had steak was on the stove top, cooked by my Dad! This is a great tribute to your Dad :)

  9. #
    Bennie Tejada posted June 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Hi Bianca! Am one of your Dad’s colleagues at DBP and he was so proud of your Father’s day message to him that he shared it with me. I concur with all the above great comments of your friends! This is a beautiful, wonderful, touching, loving and inspiring message and moment for your Dad who needs it most these days (us also). Continue to touch his heart in a way only a beautiful and ideal daughter can do. Take care out there and God bless you always!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted June 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Hi Tita Bennie, thank you for reading my blog and the very nice comment. I know a lot of people at DBP also look up to my dad and see him as the wonderful man he is; I’m really proud of him. Hope to see you again next time I’m home. Take care!

  10. #
    Kerstin posted June 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    It is so hard letting meat rest without cutting into it to make sure it’s done perfectly! Such a nice tribute post to your dad :)

  11. #
    Joanne posted June 18, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Aww what a cute back-story to this post! And adorable photos of you and your dad!

  12. #
    Meghan posted June 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

    This is a great post. I hope your dad had a wonderful Father’s Day!

  13. #
    Elizabeth posted June 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

    What a lovely tribute!

  14. #
    Daisy posted June 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

    your Dad sounds like and amazing father and person. this is such a sweet post. Thanks for the steak cooking tips, I could totally use these!!!

  15. #
    Colleen @ Culinary Colleen posted June 18, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Great post! The steak really does look beautifully cooked. I guess patience is key!

  16. #
    Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves posted June 18, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Your dad sounds awesome! My favorite steak from a restaurant is cooked in a cast iron skillet in the pizza oven. Yum.

  17. #
    val posted June 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

    This is such a sweet post.

  18. #
    Patty posted June 19, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Daddy was just telling me about the Roman Baths this weekend :)

    Your steak looks really yummy– looks almost like the ones Daddy would cook! Did we tell you we had steak and sangria in the terrace several Sundays back? Daddy cooked the ribeye in his new flat pan– To. Die. For!!

    I think you, Monic and I have got to be some of the luckiest girls in the world to have insanely wonderful, amazing parents!

  19. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking posted June 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    This is one adorable dedication to your Dad, Bianca. Such a sweet – and mouthwatering – post to read. Thanks for sharing!

  20. #
    Tracey posted June 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Bianca – this is such a lovely, sweet post. I really do hope your dad reads it. I am not an eater of red meat but this sure did make my mouth water!

  21. #
    Simply Life posted June 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    what a sweet post about your dad!

  22. #
    OliePants posted June 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    This is such a special and loving post. I love the pictures with your dad. He obviously is great but even more so because of his LOTR love! :)

  23. #
    Nelia Palma posted October 5, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I hope you remember me, am one of your Dad’s friends from DBP. This is so sweet Bianca. Your Dad’s one lucky fellow to have you as his daughter. Ingat ka lagi diyan.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted October 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Tita Nelia! Thank you so much for reading my blog and the very nice note. I think I am even luckier for having him as my dad :) He is my hero. Ingat din po kayo.

  24. #
    Marcie posted November 16, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Awww super sweet and touching post Bianx! I’ve always been afraid to cook my own steak but your post just made it sound so easy that I think I will try to make one soon! Can’t wait to find that perfect piece of meat! :)

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