I love steak au poivre because of the way the spicy pepper crunches and contrasts with the creamy flavorful cognac sauce. It's the perfect solution for a quick special dinner, and goes great with almost any sides. Mashed potatoes, asparagus, mac 'n cheese - you pick.
- beef tenderloin - 4 thick cuts or your favorite steak
- salt - coarse, like kosher
- peppercorns - 2 - 3 tbsp, whole black
- butter - 1 tbsp
- olive oil - 1 tbsp
- cognac - 1/4 cup
- heavy cream - 1 cup
- Remove the steaks from the fridge about an hour before using and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.
- Roughly crush the peppercorns using a pestle and mortar.
- Spread the broken peppercorns on a plate, and gently press both sides of each steak into them, coating them well.
- Heat the oil and butter in a skillet (I love cast iron) over medium heat for a few minutes, until it begins to smoke.
- Add the steaks, and cook for about 4 - 5 minutes per side for medium rare, a bit longer if you like your steak less red.
- Remove the steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil while you make the sauce.
- Spoon any excess fat out of the pan, but leave the bits of pepper and charred beef, and while the pan is still hot, pour in the cognac.
- Tip the pan over your flame (or use a match) to ignite the cognac (be careful - it will produce a size-able ball of fire) and then let the fire die out.
- Put the pan back on the flame, add the cream and cook, stirring vigorously to incorporate all the drippings in the pan, for about 5 minutes - or until thickened.
- Spoon the sauce over the steak and serve.