Tri-Tip is a delicious cut of meat, but it’s hard to come by
My mother grilled a medium steak, but it was never better than when she managed to get a triple steak out of the butcher. I faced two challenges when purchasing this piece. First, there are only two per cow, so it’s not common. Second, so many (often incorrect) names are used—California cut, Newport steak, sirloin tip, sirloin butt, collotte, bottom steak, top sirloin and more—that sometimes it takes Just a little work to clarify what you want. I prefer the term tri-tip, which I think is not only correct, but also descriptive, because the steak is triangular in shape and is the tip of the sirloin.
This extra thick, marbled, intensely flavored steak is perfect for roasting, grilling, or a combination of stovetop and oven cooking. It’s a great match for this instant version of romesco, the Catalan sauce most often used with fish. (If you can’t find the tri-tip, use any thick cut of sirloin, or even steaks from not-so-flavorful fillets, which will be helped immeasurably by the romesco.)
The key to this weird setup — where you’re preparing steak and sauce at the same time, in the same pan — is to get the cast-iron skillet really hot. When done, sear the steak and sauce ingredients—almonds, tomatoes, garlic, and, if you like, jalapenos—until charred. Unless you have a powerful exhaust fan, your kitchen will likely be full of smoke at this point, and you’ll be happy to transfer the steak to the oven to finish cooking.
Meanwhile, place the sauce ingredients in a blender with a little oil, vinegar (whose slightly aggressive nature brings things together), salt, pepper, and perhaps paprika. By the time it’s done, so is the steak.