You need a thick steak—at least an inch thick, preferably thicker. You will also need half a stick of butter, two sprigs of rosemary, a couple of cloves of unpeeled garlic that you crushed once with the skillet, and salt and pepper.
1. Pour yourself a drink. This is important.
2. Grab a skillet. You do not want a non-stick skillet.
3. Grab your steak out of the fridge. You don’t need to let it sit for an hour or whatever before cooking because people like us who have jobs don’t have time for that. (I also think having it cold when you start cooking keeps the interior from getting overdone.)
4. Ducasse recommends rendering the fat from the sides of the steak first, but I usually skip this step because a) the steaks I buy don’t have a ton of fat, and b) I’m gonna cut the fat off before I eat it.
5. Coat one side of the steak with salt and pepper, more than you think you’ll need. Put the steak seasoned-side down in the cold, dry pan. Plop in half of the butter on the side, along with a stick of rosemary and two of the garlic cloves.
6. With your pan filled, here’s the most important step: Turn on the heat to medium. Not high, not low, but right smack in the middle of the dial. Set the stopwatch on your iPhone for 10 minutes, then take a step back and drink your drink and think about that girl you should have asked out back in high school. Meanwhile, in the pan, the butter will melt and after a few minutes you might see tiny wisps of smoke. This is OK. If you hear crazy sizzling and the pan is smoking like Snoop Dogg, you’re doing it wrong. Turn the heat down. On a scale of 1-10, don’t go higher than
7. After 10 minutes, take the steak out of the pan and set it cooked side down on a plate. If you want, now you can take a peek at how great the other side looks! There is a boring scientific explanation for the browning of the meat called “the Maillard reaction,” but I’ll spare you that. Anyway, take your pan to the trash can and, using a paper towel, wipe it as clean as you can, dumping the garlic and rosemary.
8. Salt and pepper the raw side of the steak, and place it seasoned side down in the pan. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with this side, except this time think about how your life isn’t working out quite the way you hoped it would. Then consider how great this steak will make you feel, at least momentarily.
9. Time’s up! Tilt the pan to a side and spoon some of that hot, flavored butter over the steak, then flip the steak and give some love to the other side, too.
10. Put the steak on a plate, wait ten minutes, cut it into substantial slices, and eat it in your lovely, tiny, smoke free apartment. You can still invite the fire department over if you want.