Eating steak for breakfast is a bold move. On a scale from one to lumberjack, it’s about a nine. But even if you consider yourself a Ron Swanson type, beginning your day with a porterhouse is setting yourself up for sleepiness, and some cuts are more suited to a morning meal than others.
A good breakfast steak should be flavorful, but not overwhelmingly so — you want the eggs to get their chance to shine — decently marbled, but not too fatty, and quick-cooking, so you don’t have to spend too much of your morning over a hot stove.
The Denver steak, a fairly new cut, is the perfect breakfast steak. It’s like a cheaper, milder ribeye or a premium chuck steak. (You're unlikely to find steaks labeled "Denver" in the supermarket but most butchers will know precisely what you're talking about.)
It’s not as well marbled as a ribeye, but that’s actually a good thing, as it needs less time in the pan — quick-cooking fatty steaks can make them chewy — and is less likely to smoke up your kitchen first thing in the morning.
As for the eggs, I wanted an egg that could be cooked in the same cast iron pan as the steak. Cooking eggs in cast iron probably sounds disastrous, but I’m not suggesting you scramble or even fry in butter. Olive oil — and lots of it — is your friend here. Frying the eggs in a pool of sizzling olive oil ensures crispy edges and sunny, runny yolks without any pan stickage, and it takes mere minutes. To make this classic diner combo, you will need:
1 Denver steak
A little vegetable oil
Preheat your oven to 90 degrees Celsius. Remove the steak from the fridge and salt it generously on both sides. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until a drop of water balls up and dances around the pan. Add a healthy drizzle of vegetable oil, and wipe out the access with a paper towel (use tongs if you wish). Blot the excess moisture off of your steak with another paper towel, then sear the steak 2-3 minutes on each side, until you’ve got a nice crust. Remove the steak from the pan, wrap it in foil, place it in the oven, and turn the oven off.
Turn off the stove, take the pan off the heat, and — using the utmost care and caution — give it rinse with about a quarter cup of warm water in the sink (eyeball it from the tap), swirling the water inside the pan until it stops bubbling so viciously. Place the pan back on the hot burner, and wipe out any excess water using a paper towel held by tongs. Add enough olive oil so there is a 1/8th-inch layer in the bottom of the pan, then turn the heat back on, setting it to medium. Let the oil heat until it’s shimmering, then crack two eggs into two ramekins or teacups (this will make the transfer to the pan more gentle, and prevent the yolks from breaking).
Gently add the eggs to the oil, and stand back, as they will hiss and fuss and spit hot oil at you. Once the edges are crispy and the whites are starting to bubble around the yolk, take your steak out of the oven, put it on a plate, and (carefully) remove your eggs with a slotted spatula. Plate them next to your steak, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy with a large cup of black coffee.