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Oct 16, 2008 09:54 AM

Pan Sauce

So tonight I'm planning to try the ATK pan seared steak method.

I was also going to make the pan sauce, my question is this;

They use stainless, I don't have a stainless pan, I only have a stainless saute pan that I think would be far too large. Would cast-iron be ok? I've heard bad about using wine in CI (or is it only white wine?) And I've also heard you shouldn't deglaze in CI.

Thanks in advance...

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  1. I de-glaze in my CI pan all the time with no problems. Most pan sauces are cooked rather quickly and though they can be acidic (I use wine and lemon juice often), if you just reduce and serve - you'll be fine.

    Good luck!


    2 Replies
    1. re: ArizonaDave

      great, my other question, is how high of a heat does one usually use to reduce a pan sauce? mine always seems to take ages to reduce.

      1. re: JBethell

        Pretty darn high heat -- just make sure when you deglaze to really carefully scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. If you don't they'll really burn when you reduce. I crank up the heat, keep an eye on it and stir a couple of times so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom when it starts thickening up (could burn).

    2. You know, I was so focused on your pan sauce question, I over-looked the obvious.
      While I do enjoy ATK and have learned some nice tips and tricks from them - for a pan seared steak, I don't think you can beat the method Alton Brown teaches.
      It's not new - he's just passing on what others have been doing for years, but he recommends a CI pan. Nothing puts a sear on a steak like CI.

      Here are the basics (some may be mine, over the years it gets confusing):
      Pre-heat oven to 500 (or as high as yours goes) for at least 1/2 hr.
      Let the CI pan heat up in the oven.

      While this is happening, lightly coat the steaks with a neutral oil like canola and salt each side liberally. DO NOT pepper the steaks at this point. Let the steaks come to room temp.
      Don't worry about the things you've read about salt drying out your steaks - won't happen in this short of time. What WILL happen is that it will draw proteins to the surface and will promote a good sear.

      After the oven has heated - again, for at least 1/2 hour, take the pan out of the oven and put on the highest flame of your largest burner. Open your doors and windows, turn on any ceiling fans you have, and put your hood fan on high. It's GOING to get smokey.
      Keep the pan on the high heat for about 3-4 minutes until, as AB says it's "NASA hot".

      For a 1 1/2" steak, put in pan - and DO NOT move it for 1 minute.
      Flip and let sear for 1 min on other side.
      (here is why you don't pepper the steak - if pepper is on now, you'll basically gas yourself as the pepper burns)

      After the second side has seared for 1 min, flip again and put the pan in the 500 oven for 2 min.
      Flip and continue in oven for another 2 min.

      Pull steak and put on a cooling rack over a plate to rest for 3 min.
      If you don't have a cooling rack handy - invert a saucer on a dinner plate and place the steak on that. Tent loosely with foil while it rests. You can pepper the steaks as you set them to rest if you choose.
      Now is a good time to go outside to get some fresh air. You might set the dinner table on your patio :-)

      A nice, juicy, Med rare steak awaits.
      My method of choice. Hope you try it.
      I don't do a pan sauce with this method since any fond in the pan is well past its prime after all this heat. But a side of fresh steamed green beans (can be done while cooking the steak) and a potato or rice dish (prepared ahead), make this a fantastic meal.

      Let us know how the pan sauce came out - and try this method too.
      I think you'll like the result.

      Good luck!


      3 Replies
      1. re: ArizonaDave

        Well the pan sauce, and the steaks were great, steaks were a touch overdone, but I used approx 1" steaks rather than the called for 1.5, but they were just bordering medium, so that was my fault, and nothing major.

        The pan sauce also came out perfect.

        And I hate to say that you wasted your time doing all that typing, but AB's method is my usual. I just wanted a pan sauce this time, haha. But it's much appreciated either way!!

        One difference, I only sear for 30 seconds per side, and I believe that's what AB did on the show as well, do yours come out medium rare?

        One other note, I do my AB-style pan searing outside on the grill-side burner, and I just preheat the grill indirectly to 500 so as to avoid the smoke.

        I made it with some slow-cooked fresh green beans, and crispy baked potatoes.

        The Rays lost, but hey, at least dinner was good.

        1. re: JBethell

          LOL - great!
          Well - maybe others will get something out of my long-winded typing!
          I get MR with 1 1/2, maybe 2" inch with 1 min each side... I think I might only do 1:30 each side in the oven.... I rarely overcook tho.

          Sounds like a killer meal - at least we were on the same page with sides, eh?
          Glad the ATK method worked... I'll have to try it!



          1. re: ArizonaDave

            IMO, the ATK method produces something a little closer to a dry aged steak, so instead of sticking to one, I'll keep both methods in my arsenal.