Seared Steak with Ponzu Sauce

I was craving steak earlier this week, and so I came up with this quick and easy recipe for Seared Steak with Ponzu Sauce.

Ponzu sauce is a Japanese sauce made with a blend of citrus juice and soy, and it's commonly served with meat or fish that's prepared "tataki" style. Seared tuna is the most popular pairing at many Japanese and sushi restaurants.

But, since I didn't have any tuna steaks to just pull out of my freezer, I decided to use...well...steaks! Since the beef can be prepared medium-rare, like the seared tuna, all of the flavors worked really well together. This is a great, versatile recipe for barbeques, game days, or even for an easy weeknight meal.

My go-to spice blend for steaks includes garlic powder, salt, paprika, and coarsely ground black pepper. A good amount of spice helps create a seared crust on the steaks.

Rub the seasoning all over the steaks, then you can immediately move on to cooking...OR, marinate for a few hours.

When making this dish for get-togethers, it's so easy to do this the night before and get it out of the way. You could also do this step before heading out for work or out for the day, and have steaks waiting when you get home for a tasty, yet simple dinner.

To make the ponzu-style sauce, the only ingredients that you'll need are: soy sauce, citrus juice, sesame oil, and mirin. (Like the teriyaki sauce that I made last week, mirin gives the sauce sweetness. If you don't happen to have any on hand, dark brown sugar works well too.)

My brother-in-law, Jeremiah, brought over some tangerines from his parents' garden (Remember the calamansi?), and I thought that tangerine juice would add a nice, extra sweetness to the ponzu sauce, to round out the saltyness and the sourness. I was right. (Otherwise, I recommend a blend of lime and orange juice as the citrus element for the ponzu.)

Combine the ingredients in a small jar, cover with the lid, and shake until well-blended. Again, this step can be done way ahead of time. The longer the sauce sits, the sauce has more time for all of the flavors to marry.

Finally, it's time to sear the steaks. Add a couple of tablespoons of canola oil to a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Then, make sure to let the pan get very hot. Sear each steak for 5 minutes per side (for medium-rare). Really let the steak sit and sear for the entire time, and don't move it around or poke at it. This helps to get a blackened layer on the steaks. That smoky, charred flavor is what pairs so well with the ponzu sauce.

I would've loved to cook these over a charcoal grill, but a crazy wind storm made me rethink venturing outdoors. (My poor, knocked over potted plants...sadface...) Sometimes, improvising is necessary, and I found that my good ol' cast-iron skillet was a perfect stand-in.

After letting the steaks rest, all that's left to do is to slice them up and to pour on the ponzu sauce!

The richness of the beef, the charred crust on the outside, the tangy kick and subtle sweetness from the ponzu sauce...Delicious! Make this for your guests at your next backyard barbeque, or treat yourself on a busy weeknight!

Seared Steak with Ponzu Sauce (Serves 4)

Print Recipe

4 New York Strip Steaks (1 - 1 1/2 inches thick, about 4 lbs total)
2 tsps Garlic Salt
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
3-4 tbsps Canola Oil, for searing
1/2 cup Freshly Squeezed Citrus Juice (Recommended: a blend of lime and orange)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Mirin
  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic salt, paprika, and pepper. Mix well. Then, place the steaks on a large platter or baking sheet. Evenly cover both sides of the steaks with the seasoning blend. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours. 30-45 minutes before cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
  2. In a small jar, combine the citrus juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and mirin. Cover with the lid, then shake until well-combined.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add half of the steaks. Sear both sides for 5 minutes each, for medium-rare. Transfer the finished steaks to a platter, add more oil as needed, and repeat the cooking process for the remaining half of steaks. After cooking, let the steaks rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing.
  4. Slice the steaks and pour ponzu sauce over the top! Enjoy!