- 1 tri-tip steak, about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds, or other 2-inch-thick steak
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons almonds, shelled
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped, optional
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar, or to taste
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon pimentón or other chili powder, optional
- Heat oven to 500 degrees. Generously season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Put a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When it is very hot, add steak to one side of pan and tomatoes, almonds, garlic cloves and jalapeños, if you are using them, to the other. Sear steak for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring tomato mixture once or twice.
- Once a nice crust has formed on one side of steak, turn it over, carefully transfer the now-charred tomato mixture to a food processor, and put pan in oven. (If tomatoes are not a bit blackened, leave them in pan and check again after a minute or two in oven.) Cook until steak is rare to medium-rare, about 6 to 12 minutes longer depending on its thickness (an instant-read thermometer will register 125 degrees when steak is medium-rare). Transfer steak to a plate and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- While steak is cooking or resting, add vinegar and olive oil to tomato mixture in food processor, and season with salt, pepper and pimentón or chili powder if using. Process, adding more olive oil or vinegar as you like, until mixture reaches desired consistency. Sauce should still be a little crunchy from almonds.
- Slice steak thinly, against grain. Serve with sauce.