The Butter Steak

For the past few years Melisa and I have been living in apartments that either don't have balconies or don't allow barbecues, this has not gone over well with my stomach as I love to BBQ.  I've been searching for ways to successfully cook up a good steak indoors and thus far have always met with failure.  This failure finally ended tonight after cooking The Butter Steak. Unfortunately I don't own a Cast Iron Skillet and have never gotten around to finding a good place to buy one in Vancouver, further to that I have no idea where the broil pan is that came with my stove so the two common high heat short cook time methods of indoor steaking have never been an option for me.  I've tried numerous times to cook a steak on the stove top in a nonstick pan but it has never worked out, yesterday though in the Something Awful forum's 'Goons with Spoons' section I stumbled across a thread dedicated to steaks and therein lay my answer, a medium heat long cook time approach to steak that I have never heard of before.  Basically it involves using the maillard reaction through butter to give the a nice crust even at a medium heat but also to keep the meat rare to medium rare with a long cooking time.  For a better explanation of the cooking process as well as instructions and fancy pictures I highly recommend you visit The Paupered Chef's page dedicated to the process.  This in turn will lead you to an egullet article on the methods that started the ball rolling and has more info on how to cook the perfect butter steak.

I used a boneless rib eye (bone ins aren't yet 'in season' at Save On apparently), slightly more than 1 pound in weight that was maybe an inch and a quarter thick and paired it with Baked Potato and Asparagus.   Here's what happened (sorry for crappy pictures, blackberry took them, you can click on them for bigger versions though!)

So here we have the piece of meat itself, it has a nice amount of fat on it but right in the centre you can see large circle of fat that was almost disaster, the steak practically tore itself in half under it's own weight when it was first down and searing on it's side.

Luckily everything turned out ok and below you can see the steak cooking nicely on one side, notice the butter, or in my case margarine, pooling on the bottom of the pan, this is essential, check the links I posted above to learn why!

Here are the finished sides, the asparagus was a touch overcooked but still ok and the baked potatoes turned out great!

And here we have Melisa's plate, my plate is a duplicate although the part of the steak I had was a bit more fatty and rare (and had a little more steak...).

Everything turned out great!  The only thing I would change is to actually use butter instead of margarine, I thought we had sticks of butter in the fridge but alas we did not!  The margarine worked well enough but didn't provide the steak with as crunchy of a crust as real butter would have.  We'll definitely be cooking steaks this way in our house from now on.