Every cook wants their guests to swoon over the food, and few things induce fainting spells like a velvety, savory sauce. A good sauce transforms a dish from simple to elegant, but few home cooks take the time to make one. Even here in the SFist test kitchen, we're inclined to skip the fancier dressings for a simple meal. Fortunately, we make great pan sauces, which we assemble after we sear or sauté meat in a non-nonstick pan. Meat needs to rest for a few minutes after it's cooked so that the juices can redistribute themselves, and we use that time to create a coo-inducing liquid.

When you remove the meat from the pan, you'll probably have some fat left. Either you added some to cook the meat in the first place, or it rendered off the meat itself (our fondness for duck breast and bacon makes this a common problem). Pour the fat out of the pan into a small bowl. Keep the fat from bacon or duck in the refrigerator for a later use, but you can discard oil after it cools. If you leave the fat in the pan, your sauce will be greasy.

More sauce tips after the jump