I’ll go out on a limb here and say that every woman loves a man who can cook! Aside from my killer shoe-game, it was the only thing I had going for me when I was a 255-pound bachelor. The lure of homemade healthy recipes was enough to score me first, second, or third dates with girls that were out of my league and is the only reason my now-fiancée stuck around for 10 years! I think that cooking anything from scratch is more impressive than dining out but if you’re looking to wow her, nothing beats a well-prepared lean cut of steak. It is the quintessential celebratory meal in North America and, when done right, can knock a lady off her feet. This recipe is absurdly simple and nearly impossible to mess-up (unless she’s vegan, in which case you’re on your own!)
Pro Tip: Get her involved! Invite her into the kitchen and make her a part of the process. All the while, you can flex your culinary muscles by expounding upon the health and ecological benefits of the grass-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free wagyu you hand-selected with the help of your butcher and how yams are just as delicious as potatoes but are low-glycemic! Actually, the last part isn’t as sexy when you say it out loud!
Ronny Joseph is an expert contributor to the HUMANFITPROJECT network for MEN'S FITNESS. Follow Ronny on Instagram (@Primal_Gourmet) and Facebook.
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Serves 2 (cooking time varies depending on cut and size of steak and yams)
2 - 8-10 oz 1”-1¼” thick Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised, New York Strip Steaks; 2 – medium-sized Japanese yams – unpeeled and cut into wedges (substitute sweet potatoes, if desired); 3-4 sprigs Fresh Thyme; 2-3 cloves garlic – smashed and unpeeled; Spicy Paprika; Kosher Salt and Freshly-Cracked Black Pepper; Coarse Salt; 2 tbsp ghee; Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Avocado Oil; Maldon Salt flakes – optional for garnish
- 1-2 hours prior to cooking, remove steaks from fridge to allow them to come to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Scrub yams under running water to remove dirt and cut into medium-sized wedges (approx. ½” wide). Transfer to baking sheet, drizzle approx. 1 tbsp EVOO and season with a pinch of kosher salt, pepper and spicy paprika – toss everything to coat. Lay each wedge flat and bake approx. 45 min or until golden-brown and fork tender – flip them halfway into cooking.
- Around the 30-minute mark, get to work on the steak. Preheat your cast-iron skillet over med-high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towel. Rub them with a small amount of avocado oil and liberally season both sides with coarse salt. Once the skillet begins to smoke, lay each steak flat into the pan and cook exactly 2:00 min on medium-high heat. Do not move the steaks – you are trying to develop a golden-brown crust.
- Flip the steaks, add in 2 Tbsp ghee, 2-3 cloves smashed garlic, and 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme to the bottom of the skillet. Using a damp kitchen towel or heat-resistant mitt, gently tip the skillet towards you so that the juices pool at the bottom. (Caution: there will likely be some splatter from the rendered juices.) Using a large spoon, continuously baste each steak for 1:45-2:00min for medium-rare to medium. Cook less for more rare.
- Immediately remove steaks from the skillet, season both sides with freshly-cracked black pepper and rest on a cooling rack or an upside down spoon anywhere from 6 to 10min.
- Meanwhile, check on the yams and if they are fork tender, remove them from the oven.
- Once the steaks are rested, slice them against the grain, garnish with a few Maldon salt flakes (optional) and serve alongside the yam fries and an optional salad of your choice.