Julia Moskin’s Steak with Sam Sifton’s Potatoes

May 20, 2014 | By | COMMENTS

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The New York Times is having a tough moment and though some are basking in the scandal, I’d rather take the Ira Glass route and turn the other way. Well not so far that I stop actually reading the Times; it’s still the paper of record, as far as I’m concerned. And though I’ve griped about the Magazine food section growing a bit stale (can’t we get a few other writers into the mix?), I still read it regularly, along with the Dining section where many of the recipes–particularly those by Melissa Clark–earn a bookmark in my browser. Last week, though, two recipes earned a bookmark in my brain; Julia Moskin’s steak recipe–which involves cooking a high-quality steak in a cast iron skillet with no fat, just salt–and Sam Sifton’s smashed potatoes, both of which I made on Sunday night for Craig who’d just arrived back from screening The Skeleton Twins at the Seattle Film Festival.

Let’s start with the steak. My normal go-to technique–featured here and here–involves adding some high-smoke oil (usually Canola) to a cast-iron skillet (essential for making steak because it retains its heat), pumping up the dial to max, and getting it as hot as I can without the oil erupting into flame (that happened to a reader once; sorry reader!). But that oil was always the problem; I could never get the pan as blazingly hot as I wanted to for fear of it catching fire. That’s what makes Julia Moskin’s technique so appealing.

First, get a good-quality steak. I went to McCall’s and bought a Porterhouse for two. Then, put a good amount of coarse kosher salt into your cast-iron skillet, crank up the heat, and let it get so hot that it pretty much hurts to hold your hand over it (or until you see smoke).

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Add your steak.

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To reiterate: it’s important to get a high-quality steak with good marbling. I mean, just look at that picture above; you know that’s going to turn out well because of the meat itself. That’s the key.

After a minute, flip it over.

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OK, OK, some color… let’s keep it going. After a minute on the other side, flip it back.

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Now we’re looking good. Keep turning it back and forth, every 30 seconds or so, also rendering the sides, until pressing into it feels like the fleshy part over your thumb when you make a fist. There should be some resistance, but not so much that you can’t press down (then it’s well done). Take it off the heat, put a pat of butter on top, and sprinkle with some parsley. Behold: my new favorite way to make steak.

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As for the taters, these gave me more trouble. Mostly because I’m an idiot.

Preheat your oven to 450. Then boil some small red potatoes or gold potatoes; make sure you boil them until they’re creamy inside. I was dumb and took ‘em out when a knife just went through…

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Which is why the next step proved so tricky. You’re supposed to oil a cookie sheet with Canola oil and then smush the potatoes and put them on the sheet. My smushing was impaired because (1) the potatoes weren’t soft enough inside; (2) I did the smushing on the oiled sheet itself, so the potatoes shot around everywhere.

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Still, I knew an oven-fried potato would still taste good even if the smushing wasn’t successful. You just drizzle on more Canola oil, toss them around, sprinkle on salt and pop them into that 450 oven for 20 – 25 minutes and out they come looking all brown and crunchy. On a lark, I chopped up some parsley and garlic and tossed them with the hot taters. This, it turns out, was a good idea.

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What can I say? The Gray Lady didn’t disappoint; this was an undeniably wonderful dinner–especially paired with some robust red wine from Lou Provisions (which is connected to the NYT too; Lou’s wife is Manohla Dargis). This meal is a testament to all that the Times does well. Let’s hope this scandal blows over soon so we can all keep eating pretty.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Meat, Recipes

  • Derek

    I’ve always been afraid to try cooking a steak in a cast iron pan. I don’t have an exhaust fan over my stove and I suspect this cooking method will be smoky as heck. Do you need good ventilation with this method?

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Yes, you do, but it happens pretty fast. Good luck!

  • Matt

    Yes, you do. I have a pro grade vent hood and still get the aroma of searing steak in the house! Also, Jaime Oliver has a great recipe for smashed roasted potatoes that are similar to these.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t remember if it was MasterChef Australia or MasterChef New Zealand – but one of the chefs during a MasterClass session performed this exact same technique to cook a steak. That was a few months ago.

  • http://Healthyroadadventures.blogspot.com Angel

    Beautiful. That’s how I make my steaks!

  • Marcy

    Not sure why Sam Sifton is taking credit for Jill Dupleix’s recipe – but it’s been all over the internet for several years.

  • Agent Strong

    Cast iron is the only way to cook most anything in my book. You get the most even sear. Also, I agree about the NYT Magazine food section. Melissa Clark is the most consistently interesting and thoughtful writer — always worth reading (and cooking!) Can’t stand Mark BIttman — too preachy and dumbed down. (Am I the only one who thinks this?) Interesting way to make a steak, as I usually just do one turn. This seems like a better way to control how much it cooks.

  • Christine

    James Beard advocated this method many, many eons ago.

  • Anonymous

    and the recipe is………

  • Anonymous

    and the recipe is………

  • Anonymous

    and the recipe is………

  • Anonymous

    gasp….

  • Anonymous

    gasp….

  • Anonymous

    gasp….

  • Ttrockwood

    The potato technique isn’t new but when its done well its awesome! Definately boil longer, and then just “crack” the skin. Thyme, rosemary, and more oil. I use a large baking pan so they stay together. Some fresh grated parm for the last five minutes.

  • kara

    Well I first read of this method of making potatoes over 7 years ago on another cooking blog, so they’re hardly “Sam Siftons” potatoes. But yes, they’re pretty good.

  • Anonymous

    Adam, I don’t want to be TOO nosy, just curious. Who gets the tenderloin portion of a steak like this, you or Craig?

  • Anonymous

    lol. that’s why I think two beautiful ribeyes are easier on a relationship

  • Anonymous

    lol. that’s why I think two beautiful ribeyes are easier on a relationship

  • Anonymous

    lol. that’s why I think two beautiful ribeyes are easier on a relationship

  • Anonymous

    lol. that’s why I think two beautiful ribeyes are easier on a relationship

  • http://www.helpmovingtocalifornia.com/ Jim Thomas

    yummy… i like to taste it

  • Adam Amateur Gourmet

    Craig! I always give him the best parts because I’m such a sweetheart and he does the dishes.

  • Nadya Duke

    Adam, this is the recipe I learned to make similar potatoes. Using the towel works very well. Yum. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/crispy-smashed-roasted-potatos.aspx

  • Laura Madsen

    You can speed this up by putting the small potatoes in a glass bowl covered by water and microwaving them for 10 minutes. Then proceed as normal. They will be perfectly cooked for smushing

  • Anonymous

    That was my mother’s technique of choice for steaks back in the late 1970s. I don’t have a hood or fan, so even if it’s snowing, I pretty much go outside to the gas grill, but memories …

  • Anonymous

    My 10-inch Griswold (antique shop — $10) lives on the stove. I cook everything in it.

  • Dav Gom

    Do they have any recipes for people with allergies? Such as gluten free, vegan, etc.?

  • Dav Gom

    Someone needs exhaust fan.

  • Dav Gom

    I guess there is no place for my question here? If an editor of this page gets to read, can he/she be kind enough to answer? And be inclusive?

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    No.

  • Arlyn Lichthardt

    I guess you’re right.

  • limric

    I did my steak this way after seeing it in the NYT. Was fabulous, I was hesitant to flip every 30 seconds but it worked. Did get a little smoky though.

  • limric

    Click on his “recipe” tab there is a veg section and bean section. You might find something there.

  • Clairem

    Yes, I’ve been making Jill’s recipe for years

  • https://plus.google.com/+Securitycamera-ny/about Mark

    nothing brings out the self-righteousness in folks as quickly as telling other people what to eat.

  • caroljay

    This method is how I learned to make steak from my Mom. Yes, you do need some ventilation (don’t ask me how I know :-D), yet it yields the best steak or chop, outside of a wood-fired grill.

  • Stephen Greenhalgh

    Steak with potatoes! Wow, I wish I had thought about that one.

  • Stephen Greenhalgh

    Steak with potatoes! Wow, I wish I had thought about that one.

  • http://user.qzone.qq.com/1328609155/infocenter?ptsig=Zs4I0LGI71LUnyD3bkZCQjNMKIQRuBA6TWv9gz3kBbM_ JustinHu

    i like the food

  • http://user.qzone.qq.com/1328609155/infocenter?ptsig=Zs4I0LGI71LUnyD3bkZCQjNMKIQRuBA6TWv9gz3kBbM_ JustinHu

    It must be very difficult to make

  • http://user.qzone.qq.com/1328609155/infocenter?ptsig=Zs4I0LGI71LUnyD3bkZCQjNMKIQRuBA6TWv9gz3kBbM_ JustinHu

    看起来是很美味 不过要担心脂肪Looks very delicious but to worry about fat