From “Charlie Palmer’s Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen”

  • 2 strip steaks
  • 1 c black peppercorns, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Sea salt

Method

Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat. Meanwhile, press one side of each steak into the cracked peppercorns. Film the bottom of the pan with oil and heat just until smoking. Immediately put in the steaks, pepper-side down and sear for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down a touch and cook 3 minutes longer, or until a nice crust develops. Flip the steaks and sear the other side for 2 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, and thyme to the pan, and baste the steaks with the pan drippings. (If you like your steaks cooked past medium-rare, this is when you should transfer them to a 350° F oven to finish cooking.)

Before slicing, let the steaks rest on a warmed plate or, preferably, on a small rack in a warm place (like on the stovetop).