A few of my questions were already answered in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/735560
But I decided to enlist the help of so many knowledgeable folks here. Here's my situation:
Last night I went to cook some strip steaks and then make a pan sauce from the fond. I was using a 12" SS All-Clad skillet. I dried the tempered steaks with paper towels, added salt and pepper. The recipe I was referencing for the cooking times said to turn up the heat up to high and pre-heat the pan until it was very hot, so I did. I've seared plenty of steaks in my time but this time was weird.
I turned up the burner (electric) all the way. The pan got so hot it seemed to stick to the burner. At this point I put the steaks in. They didn't even sizzle. It's like they burned on impact (luckily only the rim of the steaks burned). Tons of smoke. No fond. Just black stains of which the outlines are still there after scrubbing it hard with a steel-scrubber. Instead of the steaks taking 4 minutes on each side, they took about 1 minute on the first side and then 4 minutes on the second side until they reached 130 (by the time I flipped them I had turned the burner down). I could've sworn they had a slight metallic taste, but that could've been my mind telling me how bad I screwed up.
I can't remember back to the times when I had successfully done this.
What did I do wrong? Do I need to relabel the "high" setting on my stove to say "boil only"?
Thanks in advance