Chef Pilar Valdes' Peppery Steak with Cranberry Agrodolce

45 minsPrep Time
15 minsCook Time

1 hr 10 minsTotal Time



  • 1 New York strip steak, 1.5 inches thick (about 1 pound)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, plus more if needed (or any neutral oil with a high smoke point)

Cranberry Agrodolce

  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Maldon salt

Garnish (optional)

  • Lightly chopped tarragon, for serving (optional)


  • Place your steak on a rack and season all sides liberally with Kosher salt.

  • Turn on your exhaust fan (it will get smokey!) Preheat your cast iron pan (if using) for about 5-10 minutes until hot.

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

  • Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, crush the black peppercorns. Transfer the peppercorns to a dinner plate. Pat the steak dry and lay it on top of the crushed peppercorns, pressing lightly so that they adhere. Repeat with the other side.

  • When your pan is hot (you can check it by sprinkling a drop of water on it - it should sizzle immediately), add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the skillet, and tilt the pan to coat the surface. Carefully add the steak and let sear, undisturbed for one minute. Flip the steak every 1 minute to ensure an even cook, allowing the crust to develop, for a total of 6 minutes. Carefully prop the steak on its side, fat-side down, and continue to sear, rendering the fat, about 1 1/2 minutes more.

  • Transfer the pan to the oven to continue cooking, until you reach your desired doneness. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the steak to take the temperature: 125-130 degrees for medium rare (about 4-6 minutes in the oven), 140-145 degrees for medium (about 6-8 more minutes total in the oven).

  • Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

  • Meanwhile, make the Cranberry Agrodolce: Place the shallots, balsamic vinegar, cranberries, honey, water, and a pinch of salt in a small pot. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Let cook, swirling pan occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Dijon mustard. Check for seasoning.

  • To serve: Slice steak to desired thickness. Season with Maldon salt and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Serve with cranberry agrodolce on the side.

Cook Time: 12-15 minutes, plus at least 45 minutes for seasoning, and 10 minutes for resting

Steak is such a special treat and truly is a cinch to cook. The most important part of cooking a steak is probably sourcing it and seasoning it. We recommend a well-marbled piece of meat that is about 1.5" thick—this allows for more time to develop a beautiful crust, and also leaves a little more wiggle room for error. Season it in advance (at least 45 minutes, and up to 2 days), and you're in business!  (If seasoning upwards of an hour, keep the steak on a rack, and in the refrigerator, loosely covered with a paper towel.) Pre-seasoning the steak helps draw out the surface moisture (which is the enemy to developing a good crust), and helps to develop better texture and flavor. For this recipe, we like to use a NY Strip (aka strip loin). Cut from the top of the sirloin towards the back of the steer, it is the perfect combination of tender (like the Filet) and flavorful (like a Rib Eye).

We love this peppery steak recipe with a quick side sauce - to help cut through some of that fat. Agrodolce is an Italian condiment - a little bit sweet, a little bit sour, with a lot of punch.