Juicy, buttery steak on the menu

David Malosh/New York Times
Butter-basted steak with asparagus. Basting your steaks with butter is the secret to perfectly cooked meat at home. Food styled by Simon Andrews.
When this simple steak gets a quick butter baste, its center cooks gently and evenly and its outside develops a beautiful bronze crust infused with sticky ginger, garlic and herbs. Its overall effect is one that a quick and hard sear alone cannot duplicate. While the steak rests, asparagus is quickly cooked using the residual heat from the steak skillet, gaining flavor from the pan juices. Serve with white rice to soak up those buttery remnants cut with electric lime.

Butter-Basted Steak With Asparagus
Servings: Two.
Total time: 45 minutes.

1 boneless New York strip steak (1½ inches thick, ideally with a fat cap; about 1 pound)
Kosher salt
1 pound asparagus, preferably thick spears
Avocado or canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled but crushed
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 thyme or rosemary sprig
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Lime wedges, for serving

1. If your steak has a thick fat cap, use a sharp paring knife to score it with a crosshatching pattern. Generously season the steak all over with salt. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or as long as 1 hour.

2. While the steak rests, trim an inch off the ends of the asparagus, then peel the tough, woody bottom 2 inches off each spear. (This means you don’t have to throw so much of the ends away.) Cut each spear in half crosswise at an angle.

3. Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high. Dab the steak dry with a paper towel. Add enough oil to lightly coat the skillet. Wait for a wisp of smoke, then use tongs to hold the steak perpendicular to the cast-iron and gently sear the fat cap until some of the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Carefully lay the steak down and sear on one side without moving it until a nice golden crust forms, about 4 minutes. Flip and sear the other side until browned, about 2 minutes.

4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter, garlic, ginger and thyme. When the butter bubbles, tilt the skillet slightly so the butter pools. Spoon the hot, foaming butter over the steak. Repeat, like you’re bathing it, until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 120 degrees (medium-rare), 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, season with freshly cracked pepper and let rest for at least 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, raise the heat to medium-high, then add the soy sauce and asparagus to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus turns shiny and bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the asparagus steam in the residual heat while the steak rests.

6. When ready to eat, slice the steak against the grain (perpendicular to the fibers running across the meat), so the meat is especially tender when you eat it. Serve the steak slices sprinkled with salt and spritzed with lime, if using, and with the steamed asparagus.

Kim writes recipes for The New York Times.

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