Seared Steak with Thyme Butter

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2

A quick compound butter made with fresh thyme elevates this easy dish to a restaurant-quality meal. As the steaks cook, we baste them with the butter, which melts deliciously into the hot meat. Then we give tomatoes on the vine a quick sear in the same pan and serve everything with a salad of Little Gem lettuce and avocado. It makes a simple but satisfying dinner, any night of the week. If using tri-tip for this recipe, ask your butcher to cut two steaks from a whole tri-tip.


For the steaks and tomatoes:

  • 2 flat-iron or tri-tip steaks, each about 2 inches (5 cm) thick
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, minced, plus 3 thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 8 oz. (250 g) cherry, Campari or plum tomatoes on the vine
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar or drop of honey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head Little Gem lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced

  • Flaky sea salt


To make the steaks and tomatoes, let the steaks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the butter, minced thyme and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Season the steaks generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the canola oil and heat until just smoking. Add the steaks and cook without moving them until a nicely browned crust forms, about 4 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 128°F (53°C), 3 to 5 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, add the thyme butter and baste the steaks. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the tomatoes, garlic and thyme sprigs to the pan, season lightly with kosher salt and stir to coat with the remaining butter. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes are wilted and the garlic is tender and starting to brown, about 6 minutes.

To make the salad, in a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and sugar, and season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Add the lettuce and toss to coat. Top with the avocado.

Thinly slice the steaks against the grain, then arrange on individual plates with the tomatoes and salad. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen