Julia tells us, in The Way to Cook, that sauteing is quickest and easiest way to cook a steak, and a simple but delicious sauce can be made from the juices left in the pan.
The first step is to pick a good piece of meat:
o The color should be deep red with firm, creamy yellow fat. There should be some, but not too much, marbling (fat adds to the calorie count of the steak).
o Pick a boneless steak (bone in steaks are for broiling) no more than 1-1/2 inches thick (Julia says 1 inch is optimal) from the rib, loin, sirloin or tenderloin. Julia’s preference is top loin (the larger side of the t-bone or porterhouse), but you could cut the eye of meat out of a rib steak if you have a rib eye or Delmonico steak, or use the tenderloin butt portion of a sirloin.
Then prepare the steak for sautéing:
o Trim off all excess fat, including the strip of fat around the circumference. Top loins often have a line of gristle between the fat and the meat – either trim it off or cut through it vertically at ½ inch intervals. The gristle is tough and, if left on, will curl the steak during cooking. Dry the steaks with paper towels and brush each side with a little olive oil to seal in the juices and prevent sticking to the pan.
o Steaks may be prepared to this point a day before cooking. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Pat dry again before cooking.
Now, on to the stove…