Photography: Courtesy Workman Publishing

In this cast-iron classic, the steak is nicely browned before the juices help to create a shallot and cider sauce.

Ventilation is key here. These steaks will develop a beautiful crust, but they’re going to give off some smoke in the process.

Now let’s talk steak temperatures: If you don’t have a thermometer, make a tiny cut to look inside the steak to see how much pink remains. Are there tricks to avoid this? Some, yes. But how confident are you in those tricks? Anyone eating the steak is certainly going to know how pink it is — you probably should, too. Making a small incision and, in this case, serving it with a skillet sauce mean no one needs to know you peeked.

Steak temperatures have a certain momentum. If you find the steak, say, rare and you’re looking for medium, you may want to check again in as little as 30 seconds. Don’t let more than 1 minute pass before you check again. It’s a difference of about 15 degrees, and those degrees tick away very quickly in a hot skillet.

Some pan sauces use red wine to deglaze the pan, but here we swap in hard cider.

Seared Rib Eye Steak With Shallot and Cider Skillet Sauce

2 boneless rib-eye steaks, 1-inch thick (about 6 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon neutral-flavored oil (such as canola or peanut)
1 shallot, minced
1⁄4 cup hard cider (see note)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place two oven-safe dinner plates on a rack in the oven and preheat the oven on its lowest setting.

Use paper towels to pat the steaks dry. Season both sides of each steak with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium high until the oil is just beginning to smoke, about 3 minutes.

Add the steaks to the skillet and cook until the bottoms are well browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the steaks, and continue cooking until the other side is well-browned, about 3 minutes more. If you have an instant-read thermometer, use it to check the temperature of the steaks. For a steak cooked medium-rare, the temperature should be 130 degrees; well done is 155 degrees. If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, make an incision in the top of a steak about ½-inch deep. For a steak done medium, you should see no red but some pink in the center. If the steak needs more cooking time, flip it again, and cook for 1 minute before checking. Remove the steaks just shy of your preferred doneness, as they will continue to cook just a bit as they rest.

Place the steaks on plates, cover them with foil, and allow them to rest at room temperature while you make the skillet sauce.

Turn the heat to low, add the shallot to the skillet and cook until it is softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the cider and cook until reduced slightly, about 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the butter, and swirl the skillet to melt it. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve the steaks hot, drizzling some of the sauce over them and serving the rest on the side.

Note: Hard cider should be dry—that is, not too sweet.

Variations

Add 1 sprig fresh thyme with the cider in Step 6. Remove it before serving.

Substitute an equal amount of reduced-sodium vegetable, chicken, or beef broth for the hard cider.


For more on Will It Skillet? and to read our interview with cookbook author Daniel Shumski, click here.