Serves 3 to 4
5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cooking, 20 minutes total
Honey gives this recipe its edge. Once the steak is cooked, you taste only the barest hint of sweetness, yet the sugar opens up all the meat's bold beefiness. Each mouthful delivers fabulous crustiness and a hum of black pepper.

Cook to Cook: Flavors are released by chemical reactions. One family of tastes opens up with water, another in fat; alcohol releases both these families and more. This is why the wine is in this recipe, and in so many others.

Serve immediately; makes great sandwiches
  • 3 tablespoons dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds steak (chuck, rib eye, porterhouse, T-bone, top loin, New York strip, Delmonico, or Kansas City strip; organic if possible), cut 1-1/4- to 1-1/2-inches thick and trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
1. Combine the wine, honey, garlic, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the steak, turning to coat it with the mixture. Let it stand at room temperature while you set up the rest of the meal.

2. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry, add it to the pan, and brown it quickly on both sides, sprinkling salt and grinding more pepper over both sides as they cook. (A splatter screen will protect the stovetop from being a total mess.)

3. Turn the heat to medium low and cook, turning the steak often, for 10 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees F to 130 degrees F (for medium rare). Remove it to a platter and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The steak finishes cooking, collects itself, and is much juicier for the wait.

From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.