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Season 17, Episode 20 Recap: How to Make the Best Pan-Seared Flank Steak

Plus how to prevent watery ratatouille, and what to look for when buying a carbon-steel skillet.
By Published May 22, 2017

In this episode of America’s Test Kitchen, Bridget Lancaster demonstrates how to make pan-seared flank steak using a reverse, bake-then-sear method. Adam Ried shows Julia Collin Davison what to look for when buying a carbon-steel skillet, and Becky Hays shows Julia how to make great ratatouille.

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America's Test Kitchen TV

"Steak and Veggies"

Host Bridget Lancaster teaches Julia Collin Davison the tricks for perfect Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Mustard-Chive Butter, and Becky Hays teaches Bridget the secrets to Walkaway Ratatouille. Meanwhile, Adam Ried tells Julia about our carbon-steel skillets review and what we liked best about our winner.  
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Five Takeaways from the Episode:

1. For Perfect Flank Steak, Bake Then Sear: A low oven prevents the steaks from buckling or losing too much moisture, and also dries out the exterior of the steaks so they’ll take to browning later.

2. A Probe Thermometer is the Best Tool for Temping the Steaks as They Bake: We bake the steaks until they register 120 degrees so they don’t overcook during searing. A probe thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature of the steaks without opening the door every few minutes to temp them. [Read Our ReviewBuy Winner on Amazon]

3. When Browning the Steaks in the Skillet, Flip Them Every Minute: This prevents the steaks from overcooking or buckling, and gives them time to achieve a beautifully browned exterior.

4. When Buying a Carbon-Steel Skillet, Weight Matters: We tested seven skillets, with weights ranging from 3.3 pounds to a whopping 6.2 pounds. We preferred something right in the middle; our winner is 4.7 pounds. [Read Our ReviewBuy Winner on Amazon]

5. Make Your Ratatouille In the Oven, Not on the Stovetop: On the stovetop, the heat must be kept low in order to avoid burning the food on the bottom of the pot, but this also means that liquid does not readily evaporate. The oven’s ambient dry heat evaporates moisture, reduces the risk of burning, and produces more flavorful fond.

Quote of the Week: “Flank steak is the boneless, skinless chicken breast of the beef world. It cooks quickly, there are no bones to fuss with, and you can use it to make everything from fajitas to stir-fries.” —Julia Collin Davison, expounding on the virtues of the versatile cut

Can't wait for next week's episode? Get your fill with our past episode recaps:

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