Valentine’s Dinner: How to Pan-Sear Steak

Valentine’s Day is officially here! Last week I featured the first part of my “Surf & Turf” date night recipe for the seafood lovers. Personally I am a steak girl; I have no shame in ordering the larger steak on a date. Unfortunately, an average date night with appetizers, sides, steak, and a few glasses of wine ends up costing an arm and a leg. Luckily, this recipe will help you become a pro at cooking your own steak (pan-sear by the way) while not breaking the bank. Give me a juicy steak and a good glass of wine and I will die a happy woman. So, save some money this year and stay home with this: NY Strip and Rosemary Garlic Potatoes.

First, some tips. When it comes to choosing a cut of meat, I prefer NY Strip because most days I am shopping on a budget. This cut tends to stay on the least expensive side and makes for a juicy steak due to its medium fat content. What should you look for in a steak?

NY Strip

  • Marbling: the fat that lies within muscle tissue; Marbling enhances a steak by keeping the meat tender and moist. A high-quality steak will consist of a lot of marbling that is evenly distributed. These steaks will also be on the pricier side. As the meat cooks, the fat (marbling) will melt and the meat will become tender – until you overcook it.
  • Thickness: When you pan-sear a steak, you are cooking at a very high temperature. You want enough time to develop a nice sear on the outside of the steak while not overcooking the inside. Look for a steak that’s 1 1/2 – 2 in. thick. Thinner steaks will cook a lot faster and you won’t be able to get a crispy sear on the outside.

Cooking your first steak can be intimidating! This process doesn’t take long so it’s important to make sure everything else is finished ahead of time because we all know steaks are best served nice and hot. Here are some important tips to keep in mind.

  • Room Temperature: Allow 30 minutes prior to cooking for your steaks to become room temperature. If you cook the meat immediately out of the refrigerator, they will be cooked unevenly and the middle of the steak will be cold and take longer to cook. Always remember room temperature results in even cooking.
  • Hot Hot Hot Pan: First make sure you’re using a heavy-bottomed pan – most people use a cast iron skillet. Properly allow your pan to preheat for about 5-8 minutes on high heat or until it’s slightly smoking. This process will get very smoky, don’t worry. Just open your windows and possibly turn off your smoke alarm!
  • Oil: Do. Not. Use. Olive. Oil. I know most people cook with EVOO, but for this you will want to use an oil with a high smoke point. A little bit of vegetable oil will work fine.
  • Butter/Herbs: This is the last tip to help you remember to do this at the end. If you add butter and herbs at the beginning, it will most likely burn. You’ll want to lower the heat for the basting process, but the pan will still be very hot so it’s a quick minute or two. Leaving the herbs and garlic whole will prevent burned bits that will ruin your steak. On this note, steak rubs are your enemy here. Stick to just salt prior to searing and avoid fancy rubs; they will only burn from the high heat.
  • Rest Your Steak: So we did everything correctly before searing and during the cooking process. Now you’re going to ruin it by cutting straight into it, right? No! Let that baby rest for 5 min. to allow the juices to flow back into the center. I know it looks amazing but you Must. Have. Willpower! Trust me.

If this is your first time pan-searing a steak, let me know how it goes! If you have other tips that work for you, let me know that too. Have fun and happy cooking!

NY Strip & Rosemary Garlic Potatoes

NY Strip & Rosemary Garlic Potatoes

  • Yield: 2 Servings
  • Prep Time: 10 min.
  • Cook Time: 45 min.


  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, TT
  • vegetable oil, enough to coat the pan
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 10-12 oz NY Strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, TT


  1. Gather all ingredients. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. Rest steak at room temperature for 30 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper prior to searing.

  3. Toss potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Transfer to sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes.

  4. Toss potatoes with garlic and rosemary just before they're finished. Cook for 2-3 more minutes or until garlic becomes aromatic. Keep warm until serving.

  5. Preheat skillet 5-8 minutes over high heat. The pan should be slightly smoking. Add enough oil until the bottom of the pan is coated.

  6. Place steaks into pan and flip every minute for about 8 minutes for medium. If you're unsure about the temperature, use a digital thermometer.
    Rare: 115 to 120°F
    Medium-Rare: 120 to 125°F
    Medium: 130 to 135°F
    Medium-Well: 140 to 145°F
    Well-Done: 150 +

  7. 2 minutes before the steaks are finished lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter, whole garlic cloves, and whole rosemary sprigs. Tilt the pan towards you so that the steak is further away lifted up and the butter is closest to you. Using a spoon, baste the butter onto the steak for 1-2 minutes.

  8. Once the steak is finished, let it rest for about 5 minutes to re-absorb its' juices. Slice against the grain and serve hot.


During the searing process, if you notice your steak burning a little, don't hesitate to lower the heat.

Flipping the steak every one minute ensures that both sides of the steak are cooking evenly.


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