Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pan-Grilled Steak Recipe with Olive Sauce or Why I Love My Cast Iron Grill Pan

Lately I'm on a quest to use some of the meat that's in my freezer. That was the main reason I decided to thaw out some steaks recently. I had no idea just how I would cook them, but when I looked through a few cookbooks, a recipe caught my eye in Food to Live By, that wonderful cookbook from Earthbound Farms that I've been raving about. The idea of serving steak with a sauce made of olives sounded pretty unique, but good.

This recipe uses a cast-iron grill pan, and this is my beloved grill pan. There are lots of companies that make a Square Grill Pan, but I highly recommend cast iron because it's indestructible, heats evenly, and stays hot. Everyone needs a cast iron grill pan!

In the cookbook, this sauce is called the Goodman Family Olive Sauce, and when I make it again, I'll be a bit more careful to keep the olives chunky. Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing about the recipe, and it's something I'd definitely make again. And I do have a few more steaks in the freezer!

Pan-Grilled Steak with Olive Sauce
(Makes 4 servings, recipe from Food to Live By with slight adaptations by Kalyn.)

4 lean, tender steaks (use a cut like top loin, top sirloin or well-trimmed New York steak)
olive oil, to rub steak
salt and fresh ground pepper to rub steak

Olive Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 tsp. garlic puree (ground garlic, or use finely-minced fresh garlic)
pinch salt
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 can good-quality pitted black olives (slightly over 1 cup)
1/2 cup pitted green olives (without pimento)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
3 T olive oil

Remove steaks from refrigerator and rub with olive oil and season on both sides with salt and pepper, then let come to room temperature.

While steak is coming to room temperature, put garlic, salt, dijon mustard, lemon juice, black olives, green olives, Kalamata olives, and half of olive oil in food processor or mini-chopper. Pulse until olives are coarsely chopped, then blend at full speed for a few seconds to combine all ingredients. (Don't over process like I did!) Remove from processor and stir in olive oil.

Put cast iron grill pan on top of stove, turn on burner to medium, and heat pan for about 5 minutes before putting meat in pan. (If the pan starts to slightly smoke, it's hot enough!) Lay steaks at a diagonal and cook until grill marks are showing, about 3 minutes. Rotate and cook about 3 minutes more on first side, then turn and cook 3-5 minutes more on second side, depending on how done you like it.

I cooked my one-inch thick steaks exactly 10 minutes and they were perfectly medium-rare. If you have a meat thermometer, this is a good time to use it. For medium-rare, the temperature should be 130F. (The recipe gave instructions for heating the pan in a 500F oven, then cooking the steak as described above. Since it's hot here, I didn't want to heat the oven, and this stovetop method was great. Of course, the steak could also be grilled on a gas or charcoal barbecue.)

Remove steak from pan and let rest about 5 minutes, then serve with olive sauce spooned over the top. This recipes makes slightly over one cup of olive sauce, which will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. The sauce would be good on tomatoes, chicken breasts, or fish, or as a spread on sandwiches.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
If you use lean steaks, this would be a good main course for any phase of the South Beach Diet. (I confess that what was in the freezer was rib-eye steak, which isn't recommended for South Beach, but I trimmed off every ounce of fat that I could.) For phase one, this would be great with something like Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Spike Seasoning and Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans. For phase two or three, you could switch the salad for garlic bread made with whole wheat bread.

More Unusual and Yummy Treats with Olives:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach friendly, check ingredients.)
Baked Tilapia with Onions, Peppers, Olives, and Feta
Green Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm, Olives, Red Pepper, and Feta
Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers
Tomato, Egg, and Olive Salad with Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
Mediterranean ChickPea Fritters with Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Lucullian Delights
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives from Simply Recipes
Really Stuffed Sicilian Olives from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once
Chicken Empanada with Chorizo and Olives from Smitten Kitchen
Fig and Olive Tapenade from David Lebovitzcounter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. What a wonderful suggestion for my husband's dinner, Kalyn! :)

  2. I better add a grill pan to my long list of kitchen wants:)

  3. Kalyn, I'm thinking that some of my preserved lemon might work well in this sauce, too. Looks absolutely yummy.

  4. Patricia, I think anyone who loves olives will love this.

    Maria, when you're old (like me) you'll have all these great cooking things too!

    Lydia, preserved lemon would be great in this! I think next time I make it I would add some parsley for color. The flavor was great, but it could have used a bit of color.

  5. I just got a square cast iron grill pan as a wedding present in April. Wahoo...something to cook on it!

  6. I've always wanted a grill pan.
    I cook in cast iron all the time. It is a little more work to clean, but I love cast iron and I've never been anemic.

  7. I'm not one for steak sauce, but this sounds really delicious. As usual with most of your recipes Kalyn, I hit the blog title and went directly to "print"!!!

  8. yum! I love olives. Anytime I can find an excuse to add them to a recipe, I am all over it!

  9. Mrs. L, lucky you. It's such a great pan.

    Chigiy, I love, love, love to cook on cast iron. (Plus you can defend yourself if needed!)

    Farmgirl Cyn, thanks! You're so sweet.

    Chris, me too. I could open a can of olives and just eat them all plain.

  10. I love our grill pan! Great for hamburgers, grilled veggies. Nice pic of the steak and tomatoes, btw. :-)

  11. Oh my, Kalyn! That looks delicious. That looks exactly how i like my steak. the Olive Sauce is very interesting. It's very early in the morning and i haven't even had my breakfast yet you got me craving this now. :)

  12. Elise, isn't it the greatest pan ever for cooking meat? And so inexpensive and will last a lifetime! Thanks for the nice words about the photo. I do find meat so hard to photograph, bit I think I'm improving on my meat photos. I bought a tripod (I know, finally!) which really helps.

    Mae, thanks. The olive sauce was so great on this steak. I'm not a big red meat eater, but steak does taste great once in a while.

  13. That is one great looking steak and the olive sauce sounds perfect for it. I have a square grill pan though not cast iron but it cooks really well!

  14. Hay,

    Take a pretty picture of the steak in the pan next time. I get my pan hot enough to ignite the happy slab and the sheer volume of smoke & grease is an amazing sight.

    Nothing but fun.


  15. Veronica, try the steak in your grill pan; I bet you'll like it.

    Biggles, great suggestion to photograph the steak while it's cooking. I am so humbled to be able to learn from an expert like yourself. (It was pretty seriously smoky and smelled great.)

  16. You and I have the same grill pan! :):) That looks so good, I'm drooling a little bit here. Sigh!

  17. Sher, why am I not surprised that we have the same pan???

  18. I too have always wanted a grill pan - think I might put it on my xmas list this year :D

    the pan grilled steak looks wonderful!!!!

  19. Just thought I'd point out - Beef needs to be cooked to 145f minimum for roast type meat, 160f for processed.

    130f isn't hot enough to kill off all bacteria.

  20. Ghost, not sure who told you that but if you check Google, you'll find that any number of sites list 130F for medium-rare steak, such as Wikipedia on steak, What's Cooking America Meat Temperatures, and many more. The meat continues to cook when you take it off the heat, so this is the temperature when you stop cooking, not the final temp.

  21. Yum! Love olives, and sometimes eat steak. but more often chicken ( which I bet this would be great on) - this is a winner!

  22. I think this sauce would be fantastic on chicken.


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