Curses, Tony Bourdain!!!
I ran across a video on Facebook one night and realized that I must cook this. Anthony Bourdain did a video with Balvenie where he made steak au poivre over an open flame and was both immediately hungry and inspired. I didn’t have 7 hours in front of me to make the demi-glace in his recipe, so I made some modifications to the recipe, taking some liberties with his project. Steak au poivre is a French dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with loosely cracked black peppercorns and then seared. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavor of the high-quality beef. It won’t be quite as tender of a loin cut, but NY Strip would also be a suitable cut for you to use at home.
As I typically already reverse sear steaks on a routine basis, this cook is a low degree of difficulty. It does, however, give me the opportunity to sear these steaks in the normal order and is dressed up a notch by the pan sauce. Tonight included potatoes au gratin and farmers’ market lima beans to accompany the steak. If you wanted to stick with the French theme, lentils or haricot vert might also make excellent options for sides.
- USDA Choice or better Filet Mignon (substitute NY Strip if you prefer)
- Kosher Salt
- Cracked Black Peppercorns
- Unsalted Butter
- 1/3 cup cognac, brandy or whisky (Scotch or bourbon would both suffice if your home bar is like mine and lacking in the brandy department)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- More unsalted butter
- 30 minutes beforehand, remove the steaks from the fridge and dry brine with kosher salt.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind black peppercorns.
- Spread the black peppercorns on a plate and press the steak into the peppercorns, leaving a peppercorn crust on each side of each filet.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet the oven to 350F. Preheat the grill to 600F-700F.
- Melt butter in a second cast iron over the grill
- Sear the steaks for two minutes on each side.
- Remove the steaks from heat and transfer into the cast iron pan in the oven and cook to desired doneness.
- With steaks, you should be cooking to temperature and not for time. But, as a general rule, a 1" filet should take about 8-10 minutes to reach Medium Rare (135F). The same steak should take 12-15 minutes to reach Medium (145F).
- Remove the steaks from heat and transfer to a plate to rest.
- Over medium heat, in a pan, add 1/4 cup of cognac or liquor and ignite. Shake the pan until the fumes are extinguished.
- Add the heavy cream, whisk for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- Salt to taste.
- Add 1 tbsp of unsalted butter and whisk in.
- Plate the sides.
- Slice steak across the grain.
- Top sliced steak with pan sauce.