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Pan-fried rib-eye steak in a frying pan with red wine sauce

Pan-fried rib-eye steak

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
  • Easy
  • Serves 2

Serve beef rib meat at least medium-rare, if not medium, to cook the fat running through it. This gives the meat lots of flavour – great with a red wine sauce

Nutrition: Per serving
NutrientUnit
kcal520
fat39g
saturates16g
carbs4g
sugars0g
fibre0g
protein39g
salt0.67g
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Ingredients

  • 2 rib-eye steaks, each about 200g and 2cm thick
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp/25g butter
  • 1 garlic clove, left whole but bashed once
  • thyme, optional

Method

  • STEP 1

    Up to 8 hrs before cooking, pat the steaks dry with kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over a high flame in a heavy-based frying pan that will comfortably fit both steaks. When the oil is shimmering, turn the heat down to medium-high and add the butter. Once it’s sizzling, carefully lay the steaks in the pan, tucking the garlic and herbs in at the sides.

  • STEP 2

    Stand over the steaks with a pair of tongs, searing and turning them every 30 seconds to 1 min so they get a nice brown crust. As a rough guide, each steak will take 4 mins in total for rare, 5-6 mins in total for medium and 8-10 mins for well done. If you have a digital cooking thermometer, the temperatures you're looking for in middle of the steak are 50C for rare, 60C for medium and 70C for well done. Leave the steaks to rest for at least 5 mins. While the steaks are resting, you can make a classic red wine sauce to go with them.

Tips for the perfect pan-fried steak

  • Use a thick cut of steak.We’ve used 2cm-thick ribeye steak in this recipe (above) as it has a good amount of marbling (or fat) running through the meat, which creates more flavour. Sirloin or rump steak would also work well.
  • Pat the meat dry.This is a key step in achieving a beautiful crust. Getting rid of any residual moisture ensures the outside of the steak crisps up nicely and caramelises as soon as it hits the hot pan (see below for heating the pan). Up to 8 hours before cooking, pat the steaks dry with kitchen paper, before seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep in the fridge until about half an hour before cooking.
  • Season generously. Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper as this contributes to the flavour, plus the seasoning will stick to the surface, helping to create a crust. Season both sides of the steak liberally before frying.
  • Get the pan very hot. Heatthe pan for 5 minutes before adding the steak. It should be hot enough that the oil is shimmering (but not smoking). Any cooler will mean the steak steams instead of sears, so you won’t achieve that deep brown crust.
  • Don’t move or prod the steaks. It may feel counterintuitive but it’s important to leave the steaks alone to let them caramelise properly. Don’t be tempted to prod and shuffle them around the pan any more than necessary; searing and turning them every 30 seconds to a minute is all that’s needed. If you move them around too much, they’ll stew in their own juices and turn grey instead of caramelising.
  • Resting the meat. As tempting as it may be to cut into a steak as soon as it’s cooked, leave it to rest for around 5 minutes on a warmed plate or a board (not in the pan or it will keep cooking). This will allow the muscles to relax and release the juices, so the end result is more succulent. Loosely cover the steak with foil while resting it, to prevent it drying out. The foil also keeps it warm.
  • Slicing. You can serve steak whole or slice it. Avoid slicing too thinly, however, or it will cool too quickly and become dry and chewy. Slice thickly at an angle and against the grain using a sharp knife for the best presentation.

How long does it take to cook steak in a frying pan?

As a rough guide, 4 mins in total for rare, 5-6 mins in total for medium and 8-10 mins for well done. When cooking, we recommend searing and turning every 30 seconds to a minute with a pair of tongs, to achieve the brown crust. For this method to work, it’s essential that the starting temperature of the pan is very hot. When you first turn the steak, it should already be nicely browned underneath.

What should the internal temperature of the cooked steak be?

If you have a digital cooking thermometer, the temperatures you're looking for in the middle of the steak are 50C for rare, 60C for medium or 70C for well done.

Which pan is best for cooking steak?

We recommend using a medium-large, heavy-based frying pan as this will help distribute the heat evenly. It’s important to use a large enough pan – there should still be room around the steak. If you overcrowd the pan, the temperature will drop too quickly and the steaks will steam and stew rather than sear and brown.

Can I use a griddle pan?

Yes, a griddle pan generally works well, but not for the recipe on this page due to the butter and garlic. If using a griddle pan, it’s better to just oil and season the steak.

Why cook steak in butter?

Cooking and basting the meat with butter is a good idea because it deepens the colour of the crust and the flavour. If you’re worried about the butter burning, use clarified butter or even lard or beef dripping.

I’m cooking steak for four people – what’s the best way to do this?

You can either have two pans on the go at the same time or cook them in batches, which is a less stressful approach. Once you know how everyone likes their steaks you can cook the most well-done steaks first, then transfer them to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil while you cook the rest of the steaks. For this recipe, give the frying pan a wipe with kitchen paper and replace the garlic and thyme with fresh between each batch (garlic burns easily and could spoil the taste of the steaks).

What can I serve with steak?

Goes well with

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A star rating of 4.9 out of 5.10 ratings
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