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Volume 11

Dinner This Week: Cast Iron Steaks

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Cast Iron Steaks, Sautéed White Fish Fillets, and Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower for dinner in an hour or less.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

Dinner 1: Cast Iron Steaks and Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Cast Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter employs a cast-iron skillet: Its heat-retention properties are ideal for a perfect sear. Heating the skillet in the oven, rather than on the stovetop, ensures even heat distribution. Flipping the steak every two minutes leads to a shorter cooking time and reduces the gray band of dry, overcooked meat just beneath the surface of the crust. Our Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes have a triple dose of garlic for truly complex flavor. We start with garlic paste sautéed in butter for clean, mellow sweetness; follow that with a small amount of raw garlic paste for assertiveness; and then finish with rehydrated garlic powder (also sautéed in butter) for a complex, lightly roasted flavor. Rehydrating the garlic powder in water reactivates the enzyme that produces the compound allicin, which is responsible for garlic’s characteristic flavor.

Printable Shopping ListsCast Iron Steaks with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter and Garlic-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Equipment Review Food Mills

We wanted to know which food mill was the most stable, efficient, and easy to use.

Dinner 2: Sautéed White Fish Fillets and Spinach Salad

To create a browned crust on our Sautéed White Fish Fillets, we first season the fish with salt and let it sit for five minutes. As the fish sits, moisture beads on its exterior, creating a sticky surface for a light flour coating to adhere to. For our Spinach Salad with Carrot, Orange, and Sesame recipe, we shave carrots thin with a vegetable peeler so they don't collect at the bottom of the bowl, then add fresh orange segments for bright, clean flavor and textural appeal.

Printable Shopping ListsSauteed White Fish Fillets and Spinach Salad with Carrot, Orange, and Sesame

Equipment Review The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets of 2021

A rimmed baking sheet is essential for sheet cakes and handy for cookies. But if yours is flimsy or you use it only for baking, you’re not getting your money’s worth.

Dinner 3: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic and Arugula Salad

For Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, and Walnuts, we cut the cauliflower in a way that maximizes the surface area available for browning. We then toss the florets with oil, salt, pepper, and a little sugar to jump-start caramelization and roast them on a preheated baking sheet to cut the cooking time and boost browning. Finally, we make a sauce with sweet roasted garlic to tie the components of the dish together. For our Arugula Salad recipe, we found ingredients to temper the assertiveness of the arugula while accommodating its lively flavor. Fruit and cheese add sweet and salty notes to balance the peppery arugula. For the dressing, our surprise solution was to add a spoonful of jam, which adds fruity sweetness that pulls the flavors into line.

Printable Shopping Lists: Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Garlic, and Walnuts and Arugula Salad with Pears, Almonds, Goat Cheese, and Dried Apricots


To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.