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Tiny Kitchen Recipes: Learning to cook a perfect steak

Add this one to your dating playbook: The food bloggers from Chicago's Dinner Was Delicious school us on how to cook a stunning steak.

Photograph: Lucy Hewett
The perfect steak

Welcome to Tiny Kitchen Recipes, a feature in which we ask chefs, writers and food bloggers in New York City and beyond to share a recipe with us. Always wallet-friendly, these creations are feasible whether you live to cook or only recently stopped using your oven for shoe storage.

RECOMMENDED: All recipes from us

Our Dating issue, on newsstands this week, gives you the dirt on New Yorkers' dating lives, first-date ideas, wooing tips from NYC bartenders and a guide on how to meet people offline. Here's another move to add to your playbook: how to cook a simple, stunning and sexy steak. As Rachel Adams and Lucy Hewett write on their blog Dinner Was Delicious—and they couldn't have put it better—"a perfect steak will get you laid."

Clearly, the gals are infinitely wise in the ever-intersecting world of cooking and dating, so we asked them how they use food to lure in potential mates:

"We always plan early dates centered around food. Not just because we (obviously) love eating, but because it's a low-stakes way of getting to know the dudes we date. People approach food the same way they approach life, so carefully observing [them] over those first few meals helps us vet out losers. If you're a fussy little princess who picks onions out of your salsa and gets squeamish over meat served on the bone, it's pretty effing likely that you'll apply the same soul-sucking fastidiousness to the rest of your life. If you've got a 9" Wusthof and a couple cans of San Marzanos in the pantry, on the other hand, you clearly have some taste and style—and might have a prayer at handling broads like us. It's not a perfect metric—we've known a few interesting gluten-free vegans in our day, and even more batshit-crazy chefs—but it's a quick way to rule out some weenies who aren't worth our time."

Steak from Dinner Was Delicious

You will need:

- One steak. Preferably New York strip. Ideally about an-inch-and-a-half thick. Grass fed.
- One well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Non-negotiable.
- Oil of your choice, with a high smoke point (peanut, canola, vegetable—not olive, not butter).
- Paper towels.
- Salt.
- Tin foil.

[Editor's note: Go to Dinner Was Delicious for tips on how to buy the perfect steak.]

Before you're ready to cook, place your steak in a cool place on your counter to bring it up to room temperature. This will shorten your cooking time and lessen the thermal shock once it hits the hot pan, creating a more tender steak that holds onto its juices better. Obviously be careful when you're leaving raw meat out of refrigeration. Use the parts of your brain not decayed by collegiate alcohol consumption and make good decisions; keep it in its original packaging, put it on a deep plate to catch any leaks, keep it away from animals and stay around to make sure things don't go horribly awry. 

Once you're ready to get cooking, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

Place your cast-iron skillet on your range, over a high flame. Add the oil, continue heating until it is decidedly hot and just starting to smoke. Thoroughly dry your steak with a paper towel. This will help us get a better crust on the outside of the steak. Liberally salt one side of the steak and immediately place it into your very hot skillet, salted side down. 

Cook the steak on that first side for 2 minutes, without even thinking about touching anything. No pressing, no turning, no peeking. Just as your 2 minutes are coming to a close, carefully use a paper towel to dry off the top of the steak. Once dried, liberally salt and immediately flip into a new, un-steaked, area of the pan. Continue to cook on the stove top for about 30 seconds, then move things into the oven. 

Continue cooking the steak in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes. Seven minutes, for most steaks, will be rare to medium-rare, 10 minutes will give you a juicy well-done. We went with 8 minutes for the steak pictured and got a perfect medium—solid pink all the way through and juicy as a motherfucker. Lots of snobs will say the perfect steak is medium-rare. We think that the perfect steak is however the fuck you want to eat it. 

After cooking in the oven, immediately move your steak from the pan to a cutting board or plate. Cover it with tinfoil to keep it warm, and let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes to allow the fibers to relax and redistribute the juices. Once it's rested, slice it against the grain and serve. We like it with super Midwestern fixins, like giant baked potatoes and green beans, but this perfectly seasoned piece of meat is the kind of luxurious ingredient that makes a brown-bag lunch feel more special. It's great on a salad and is really good cold.

Serves 2

In the words of Adams and Hewett, Dinner Was Delicious is "another fucking food blog." The Chicago–based site—always sassy and never precious—includes food recipes, local restaurant reviews, drink concoctions and plenty more.