fillets of beef, no more than 3/4 inch
thick (either sirloin or flank steak)
salt and pepper
Heat an empty heavy skillet,
preferably cast iron and not a nonstick pan, over high heat for
Add the cooking oil and lay the steaks
in the pan.
Salt and pepper them.
Cook over high heat for 4-5 minutes,
then turn and cook another 4-5 minutes for a medium steak.
While the steak is cooking, slice the mushrooms.
Remove the steak from the pan to a
plate and allow the meat to rest for a couple of minutes while you
make the sauce. (Resting allows the tensed-up, just-cooked meat
fibers to relax and taste more tender.)
Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the pan.
Press the garlic clove into the butter and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid evaporates.
Pour in the white wine, cook for 1-2 minutes, and then stir in the cream if using.
Season with salt and pepper and pour over the steak.
Mercifully, quick-cooking actually suits
some tougher cuts of meat such as flank steak or London Broil (which is
usually a big piece of sirloin). If you overcook these cuts, you get a
tough, flavorless meal, but a quick sauté in a very hot pan leaves them
succulent and tender. The mushroom sauce is an easy topping and goes
nicely with mashed potatoes, too, but this basic method of steak cooking
will serve you well, no matter what the topping.