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The only thing I love more than cheese and carbs? Steak. I go crazy for a good steak.

“Mostly, this meal is about timing. Getting everything on the plate at the same time is the real trick, so having every ingredient prepped and ready to go is essential.”

And until a few years ago, I felt had to wait until someone splurged and took me to Craftsteak or Peter Luger to get my meaty fix. For some reason, even with all my culinary experience, I was under the impression that cooking steak properly involved crazy witchcraft, and only the best grill masters could accomplish this impossible feat.

Well, Guess what? There’s no mystery to cooking a perfect steak.

Cooking steak on your own stove is straightforward and extremely gratifying. All you need is a cast iron pan and some salt. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Mostly, this meal is about timing, because none of the components really take that long.

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Getting everything on the plate at the same time is the real trick, so having every ingredient prepped and ready to go is essential.

“I’m a proud believer that pesto is always completely done to taste, as in there really is no recipe.”

For the squash fritters, take your cooked spaghetti squash and mix it in a medium-sized bowl with an egg, some flour, and salt and pepper.

You probably don’t need more than one egg because the squash is fairly dense and holds a lot of moisture, so use your flour to even it out and create a nice bond. You want the mixture to hold up in a patty shape on its own.

 

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After the fritters are formed, start your pesto. Rip up some Lacinato kale (the flat kind, not the curly kind), and some basil and throw it in a food processor with olive oil, a clove of garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon, and salt, and blitz away.

I’m a proud believer that pesto is always completely done to taste, as in there really is no recipe. The ratio of oil to greens will help create a smoother texture, and the salt and lemon will help balance out the slightly bitter flavor of the kale.

Just keep adding the ingredients in small amounts until it tastes right to you.

Now’s the time to chop up your veggies. I prefer shallots to onions but both are great in a frying pan. Give the kale a rough chop and dice up your onion/shallot, and keep off to the side.

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The order of cooking is steak, fritters, veggies. Steak must rest for at least 50% of the time it’s been cooked so make sure you give it the right amount of time.

It’s important that your steak is room temperature before you put it in the pan and that the pan is super, super hot. As you’re heating up the pan, salt your steak (liberally) and then give it a nice coat of oil.

The oil will seal in the salt which helps the steak form that tasty crust when it hits the scorching hot cast iron (no need to oil the pan.) Lay the meat in the pan salt side down and let it sit for a couple minutes, or until it’s a nice brown color, and then flip. You can tell how rare a steak is by how squishy it feels when you push on it, or you can cut into it.

Once it’s the color you’re looking for, take it off the heat and transfer to a plate covered in foil to rest. Steak must rest for at least 50% of the time it’s been cooked so make sure you give it the right amount of time.

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Use a light oil like vegetable or canola to fry the fritters, with about ¼ of an inch in the bottom of the pan, on medium-high heat. Lay the squash patties in gently and be careful of any splatter.

Let them sit until the bottom is crispy and golden brown. You can also bake these if you feel so inclined.

The onions and kale can go in the fritter oil so you don’t have to use up any more equipment. Cook them until the onions are translucent and the kale is wilted and dark green.

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When the fritters are done, lay them on a couple of paper towels to drain any extra oil, and then lay them on whatever plate you’ll be eating them off of. Then, cut your steak either into strips and lay them over the fritters.

Pile on the sauteed veggies, drizzle with pesto, and BINGO! A delicious, well-rounded meal that will impress any date—just do a trial run with a friend first.

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Taryn Lachter
About the Author

I grew up in the food industry, and food is my first love. I’m obsessed with all things that taste good, especially cheese, and the fastest way to win my heart is through my stomach. You can find usually find me rooting around in my kitchen, or enjoying something new on the scene in New York City.

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