We suggest serving steak for mid-week celebrations because they are quick. The only prep work required is a trip to a good butcher. Your steak will broil to rare perfection in under ten minutes. On Valentine's Day, less time in the kitchen means more time for, umm, other things.
Here's our step-by-step guide to cooking steaks in your broiler.• How To Cook a Steak in the Oven
Cooking a steak starts with the shopping. Go to a butcher with a good reputation (If you're in midtown Manhattan, check out Ceriello in Grand Central). If you can afford to go antibiotic-free and hormone-free, check out the aged steaks at Whole Foods. Be prepared to pay as much as $20 a pound and remember the trade off: you're paying more for premium steaks to save time in the kitchen.
A Porterhouse, also known as a T-bone, combines two of the best cuts of steak: a New York Strip and a fillet. Look for a Porterhouse that's at least an inch and a half thick with a weight of about one and a half pounds -- that's more than enough for you and your Valentine.
Position the top rack four to five inches from the top of the oven. Take the steak out of the refrigerator as you pre-heat the broiler to its highest possible temperature (Our broiler reaches to 550 degrees). Open a window just in case. Things might get a little smoky.
While the broiler warms, pre-heat an empty cast-iron skillet or grill pan on high heat on the stove for about five minutes. If you're using a premium cut of aged meat and a well-seasoned pan, you won't need to add any oil to the pan. The screaming hot pan might just start to smoke a bit. Be careful and be sure to use a thick oven mitt.
Once both the broiler and the pan are pre-heated, sprinkle the steak with salt and put it in the pan (We don't put black pepper on until after it comes out of the broiler because we think it can burn, but others differ with us on this). Place the pan on the top rack, under the broiler.
Let the steak broil for four minutes and then carefully flip it to the other side for another four minutes. If you're using a grill pan with raised ridges make sure you don't wiggle the steak around in the pan. You'll mess up the grill marks.
After the steaks have broiled on each side, pull the pan out of the broiler. Use a paring knife to make a small cut in the center of the larger side of the Porterhouse see if the steak is done to your liking. Remember, the steak will keep cooking a bit even after it is out of the broiler. (Don't feel too bad about cutting into the steak. Yes, you will let some of the juice out of the steak, but losing some juice is better than over-cooking the steak.) If you'd like the steak more well done, return it to the broiler, checking it again after another minute.
Move the steak from the pan to the platter and serve immediately.
We came to this method after making a whole bunch of steaks and consulting with at least four butchers, The Joy of Cooking, and Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. Kitchn readers, what are your tips for serving the perfect steak at home?
See the rest of our Valentine's menu suggestion and shopping list here:
• Valentine's Dinner for Dummies
Also see our step-by-step photo tutorial to cooking a steak here:
• How To Cook a Steak in the Oven
(Image: Chris Phillips)