Half-Salted Steaks With Kale-Caper Sauce

Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4
An umami-packed green sauce made with kale and capers seasons expertly cooked steaks at home.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)
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The timing of this recipe works specifically for boneless strip or rib-eye steaks weighing between 10 and 14 ounces each and cut to a 1-inch thickness, which is what I found most common in grocery stores. If yours are a different weight, adjust the cooking time in the oven accordingly. Also, taking the steaks out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before cooking ensures they heat evenly and to the proper temperature in the time given below. If you skip this step, the steaks will take a little longer to cook. This recipe also works perfectly with just one steak and half the ingredients for the sauce, if cooking for yourself.

From the story: Stop salting steak before you cook it


Remove the steaks from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you plan to cook them. Heat your oven to 400 degrees while you wait.


Place the steaks on paper towels and dry thoroughly. Using a pastry brush, dip it into some vegetable oil, then rake the bristles against the lip of the bowl to remove all excess oil. Use what’s left on the bristles to brush the steak in a very thin coating of oil.


Place a medium or large oven-proof skillet (not nonstick) over high heat for 3 minutes. Place the steaks oiled side down in the skillet and set a timer for 2 minutes; do not touch the steaks once they’re in the pan. While they cook on the first side, season the top side liberally with salt. Once the timer goes off, use tongs to flip the steaks, then immediately place them in the oven.


Cook the steaks in the oven for exactly 6 minutes for medium-rare doneness (130 to 135 degrees) or 8 minutes for medium doneness (140 to 145 degrees). While the steaks cook, finely chop the kale (you should get about 1 cup) and mince or grate the garlic. Measure out your soy sauce and vinegar in one bowl, along with 2 tablespoons of water in a separate bowl.


Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately transfer the steaks to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm; let rest while you make the sauce. Place the still-hot skillet over medium heat, then pour in the olive oil, followed by the kale, capers and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the kale is wilted and starting to brown at the edges, about 2 minutes. Pour in the 2 tablespoons of water and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the soy sauce and vinegar, then scrape the sauce into a bowl.


Once the steaks have rested for at least 5 minutes, slice against the grain and transfer to serving plates. Pour any juices collected on the plate where they rested into the kale sauce, then spoon it evenly over the steaks. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if you like, to serve.