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.