Pan-Seared Flank Steak with Mustard-Chive Butter
Why This Recipe Works
Flank steak is too long to fit in most skillets, and it’s quite thin, so it often overcooks before the exterior is well browned. The long muscle fibers tend to contract when seared, causing the steak to buckle and resist browning, and flank steak is thicker at one end, so it has a tendency to cook unevenly. We wanted an indoor cooking method that would produce a juicy, well-browned flank steak that was cooked to medium throughout.
We cut the flank into four steaks that would fit neatly in the skillet, but we didn’t put them there right away. Instead, we sprinkled them with salt for seasoning and sugar for browning and baked them in a very low oven until they had reached 120 degrees. Then we seared them in a hot skillet to develop the crust. We flipped the steaks three times, instead of just once, to equalize the contraction of the muscle fibers on each side, which discouraged buckling. After enriching the lean steaks with a flavorful compound butter, we sliced them thinly against the grain for maximum tenderness.