Many people don't realize how easy it is to make a decent steak dinner at home. Now, don't expect superb NYC steakhouse quality here. Why? I don't have convenient access to their prime dry aged meats. And my stove nor oven goes up high enough for that quality. However, making steak at home is much cheaper and can rival some of the more mainstream places that you or I may frequent. So on the menu this night: steak with mushroom marsala wine sauce and a side of tator tots.
I actually started off with heating the toaster oven for the tator tots. I won't show you the steps to do that because they were frozen tots and I followed the instructions on the bag. Easy said and done. And now onto the more difficult portion, the steak. Please keep in mind that this steak recipe works best for fattier cuts of beef like rib eye and strip. If you like filet mignon, do not use this recipe. It will come out tough and dry. Okay, enough of the warnings, now onto directions.
Take the meat out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. It takes about an hour. While the meat comes up to temperature, turn on your oven to 450oF. Yeah, it's high but it's what you need. Then liberally salt and pepper the steaks on every exposed surface. Also add some olive oil for grease.
Here's a nice tip: using a larger grained salt here works best. So think sea salt instead of table salt. This also goes for freshly ground black pepper.
Heat up a pan until screaming hot. I mean so hot that when you put your hand over (not on) the pan, it's too hot to keep it there. Add your oil. Use an oil with a higher smoking temperature like canola or peanut. Please your steaks carefully in. If you're afraid of burning yourself, use a pair of tongs. Once the meat touches the pan, you should hear it sizzle and see some smoke/steam. This is good. It's forming that lovely crust already. To keep that crust, do NOT touch the steaks. I mean do not move them at all. Do not take a peek to see if it's browned enough. Do not poke at it with the tongs. Just leave the damn things along so they can work their magic!
Helpful tip: use a regular (not non-stick) or cast iron pan with low sides. I find that non-stick pans cannot produce the kind of crust that you want. And pans with higher sides tend to steam the food as opposed to letting the water/moisture evaporate.