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Seared Steak with Thyme Butter

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