Unless you have a truly tricked-out kitchen, recreating restaurant food even if you have the exact recipe can be elusive, and that’s because restaurants have, among other things, crazy-hot stovetops (and, ahem, a band of professionals working their rears off).
Samin Nosrat, author of the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and one of those professionals who worked in the kitchens at both Chez Panisse and Eccolo, found this to ring true in her apartment kitchen: “At first, no matter how long I preheated my cast iron pan on the stove, it never got hot enough to properly sear a steak without overcooking it,” she writes.
If you want a well-done steak, this is no problem. But for those who like things closer to rare, a truly blazing pan is necessary to get a gorgeous, toasty crust and a still-pink interior. So Samin started hacking her heat sources: She’d preheat a cast iron pan in the oven, then move it over to a high flame on the stovetop to sear the steaks. “Works like a charm,” she writes.