Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre – 4 Servings


  • 4 of your favorite steaks. I like a good New York
  • 2 Tablespoons of peppercorns (crushed*)
  • 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • ⅓ cup of Cognac** plus 1 Tablspoon
  • 1 cup of heavy cream

*I use a mortar & pestle, but a hard surface and the
bottom of a pan work great. You want the cracked
corns, of course. Do not use a pepper grinder, it will
be too fine.
**Dad always had cognac on hand; I do not. I use
100-proof bourbon. Why? Because of America!

  • Remove steaks from the refrigerator an hour
    before cooking. Sprinkle all sides of the steak
    with sea salt or coarsely ground Kosher salt, and
    be generous. Then press the peppercorns into
    all sides of the steak.
  • How to cook a steak: Heat an iron skillet on
    high and add a touch of olive oil. Start with the
    fat edge of the steak, then sear the remaining
    edges. Doing the fat side first gives the olive oil
    a helping hand. Move to the flat sides one and
    then the other.
  • If you want a perfect steak and don’t have 100
    hours of experience cooking them, use a good
    thermometer. Rare, 120-130 degrees, medium
    rare, 131-140, medium, 141-150, medium well to
    well, forget what I said about a great steak. It
    won’t be great after 150.
  • Remove steak from pan and pour off any excess
    fat but DO NOT wipe out or clean pan. This is
    what the French call fond, the good stuff. It is
    essential for your sauce.
  • Pour in your ⅓ cup of Cognac or whiskey off
    the heat, and carefully ignite with a stick lighter.
    Return the pan to medium heat and add the
    cream. Bring to a boil and whisk until thickened.
    The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Run
    your finger across the back of a spoon to make
    a line. It is ready if the line stays and doesn’t run
    back together. The French call that consistency
  • Add steaks back to the pan and spoon sauce
    over the steak and serve. I use a hot pad and
    go straight to the table with the iron skillet.
    This keeps the steaks hot. I move to a cutting
    board and slice steaks one at a time as needed,
    spooning more sauce as I go.
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Clyde Van Arsdall