The steaks are sautéed in cooking spray to create a crust, while the mushrooms are sauteed in butter for flavor. Since the mushrooms release liquid as they cook, the butter is less likely to burn. Shiitake mushrooms create a sublime sauce with deep, earthy flavor, but you can substitute any other mushroom variety. Serve with mashed potatoes and Broccolini.
4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (1 inch thick)
Sprinkle steaks with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer steaks to a serving platter.
Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add butter to pan, swirling to coat; cook 15 seconds or until foam subsides. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently. Stir in vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and soy sauce; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Spoon mushroom mixture over steaks. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.
Wine note: Merlot can be as serious as many cabernets. It's also a natural with both red meat and mushrooms, making it a good partner for this dish. California's Paso Creek Merlot 2005 ($20) has flavors of dark cherry and smoke with a savory edge that will highlight the thyme, while firm, drying tannins balance the steak and buttery mushrooms. —Jeffery Lindenmuth