I set the smoke alarm off. Twice. I should have been studying for my Microbiology midterm, but setting food (intentionally) on fire was so much more fun! This recipe is simple, but I love it -- it's my favorite way to eat steak when it's too cold outside to grill. (And in Boston, it snowed today!) I think I originally learned the technique from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (where else!?), but it's ever-evolving. Note: the steaks I used are small, a little bigger than a deck of cards, a serving size of red meat your that would make your cardiologist smile. —student epicure
small (6-8 oz) steaks, your favorite cut, about 3/4 - 1 inch thick
Use a paper towel to blot the steaks on both sides, until very dry. This will help you achieve a good sear. Distribute the ground pepper on both sides of each steak.
Heat a cast iron pan on high heat. Add just enough peanut oil to thinly cover the surface of the pan. Keep heating until shiny and hot. Turn on the fan. Add steaks, cooking on each side ~4 minutes for medium-rare. When steaks have reached desired doneness, remove to a plate to rest.
Meanwhile, melt butter in pan. Add onions and saute until browned and soft, ~2 minutes.
Now, turn the fan off (this is counterintuitive, but there is sometimes a BIG flame when you add the bourbon and you don't want any grease in your gas hood to catch fire). Reduce heat and add bourbon. Using a VERY long match, light the bourbon on fire. As soon as flame subsides, pour sauce over steaks. Season with salt and serve immediately.