Steak

A 5-Minute Steak Dinner for Those Nights When You Just Can't

Plus, the secret sauce that makes it.

by:
October 25, 2018

What can you do in five minutes? If you’re as elegant, as dexterous as I am, then you can probably: pick your nose in five minutes; trip over that gargantuan pile of dirty laundry and lie on the floor, immobile, for five minutes; let your dog lick your face for five minutes.

You can probably cook a steak dinner for one in five minutes.

This recipe is a weeknight workhouse of a supper, something I like to cook for myself when I have time for nothing else. The real star here is the lime and fish sauce butter, which is, in my humble opinion, the best steak sauce in the world. Sweet, salty, and life-affirming, it's at once funky caramel and umami personified.

The beauty of a proper 5-minute recipe is that each minute counts. So much can happen in 300 seconds—this pan-seared steak is a testament to that. You'll find yourself at the end of the blip of time with a dinner that's unutterably effortless to cook yet feels somehow steakhouse-special.

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Top Comment:
“Perfect for these chilly fall weeknights when I get home and want to cook something warm and fast (then sit on my couch wrapped in a blanket). Also, I'm a new reader to Food52, and have to say how much I love your writing Eric. Your recipes, nostalgia, and humor make me smile every time I read :) ”
— Dana E.
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What we’re after here is minimal effort for maximal pleasure. For this, there are three quick but very impactful steps.


How to Cook Steak in a Pan

  • Get your skillet (I like cast iron) hot enough so it starts to smoke. (Yes, smoke!) One word of advice: Turn on your range hood vent now. There’s a chance you’ll smoke up the place—but that's okay, because it'll mean you're doing it right and your pan is hot enough to ensure a good, solid sear. Once your skillet is nice and hot, add some oil and a 1/2-inch thick strip steak: 2 minutes on the first side, 1 minute on the second side (or even less, if you prefer a rarer steak like I do). Plate the steak.
  • The green beans go in next, a quick crunchy side dish to accompany the steak. These get just 1 minute and 30 seconds in the steak fat to warm through. They’ll char slightly on the outside but stay pleasurably crunchy. Time's up! Plate the beans alongside the steak.
  • Now for the sauce (all in the same pan, off the heat): Lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and butter get whisked together, picking up the good, caramelized steaky bits from the bottom of the skillet. This takes less than 30 seconds. Pour over the steak and beans.

And at just 5 minutes of cooking, dinner is served.

How do you cook your steak? Let us know in the comments below.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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10 Comments

arcane54 October 27, 2018
I’m sure the cut of steak is critical. I’ve been buying teres major or beef tenders that are bit thicker, about an inch at the thickest. Should I just increase the cook time?
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 27, 2018
Right, just increase the cook time to your liking. I use a 1/2-inch New York strip steak here because they're quick.
 
tia October 25, 2018
I'd love to see more recipes for one person! I live alone and would like to cook more often (right now I usually cook on Sunday and eat it for the rest of the week). This sounds very promising and quick.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 25, 2018
More dinners for one coming right up :)
 
Dana E. October 25, 2018
Perfect for these chilly fall weeknights when I get home and want to cook something warm and fast (then sit on my couch wrapped in a blanket). <br /><br />Also, I'm a new reader to Food52, and have to say how much I love your writing Eric. Your recipes, nostalgia, and humor make me smile every time I read :)
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 25, 2018
Aw Dana, what a nice comment to read this afternoon. Thank you so much.
 
HalfPint October 25, 2018
@Eric K., butter and Maggi seasoning is also is wonderful combo on steak.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 25, 2018
Oh that sounds divine. I wonder what Shin Ramyun seasoning + butter would taste like...
 
Hoda E. October 25, 2018
I like my steak medium well. Do I cook it longer?
 
Author Comment
Eric K. October 25, 2018
Correct! I'd do 3-4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second.