Hey folks, I'll be making a steak for my girlfriend soon. Most likely I'll be working with a 1" thick steak (not yet sure which cut, but I doubt I'll be able to get any thicker at this time).
1. Any tips for searing the sides to render the fat? Would you have to stand up the steak and hold it with tongs for a few minutes? Would it be best to do this before or after actually cooking the steak?
2. A lot of posts seem to suggest my cast iron pan should be screaming hot. I don't have any kind of cooking thermometer, so I just turn the stove up to 10/Max and wait for the smoke. I have no problem with this (I love that crust!), but I worry about burning the coarse ground pepper (which will be used for seasoning) as well as the fond. Any tips? Should I even be worried?
3. I want to make a sauce using the fond, Cabernet, peppercorns, beef stock, and butter. Considering that it takes quite some time to reduce, wouldn't the steak start to get cold? Can some of this be done in advance (like reducing the beef stock and Cabernet the day before and keeping it in the fridge)?
4. What kind of oil should I use to coat my steak? Olive oil seems to be the popular choice, but with that scorching heat, wouldn't it be better to choose an oil with a higher smoking point? A post here mentioned peanut oil, but I can't use that for allergic reasons.
5. This may very well be a really stupid question, but anyway... everyone says to let the steak reach room temperature before you start so that it cooks more evenly. But if the steak is still cold, wouldn't that allow the steak to develop a nice crust without overcooking the inside?
6. Another stupid one. I know there's a lot of debate about when to season the steak with salt. The argument against seasoning earlier is that the salt draws out the moisture. But here's what I don't get. Is this moisture really the same as the "juices?" I ask this because as far as I know, the concept behind dry-aging steaks is to remove the moisture, thereby condensing the flavors. Am I making any sense?
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!