Here I am, in the Rhone-Alpes region of France. This has been referred to as the Gastronome’s paradise…….the culinary scene in Lyon rivaling that of Paris.
But what do I know? I am physically located in humid north Florida, traveling only through my Williams-Sonoma French cookbook. You can pour through these cookbooks and read it as you would a travel guide. There is so much detail.
Today we have Steak au Poivre. The secret to a great steak au poivre is to use only freshly ground or freshly cracked peppercorns. Gently toast the peppercorns in a dry frying pan (a Lodge cast iron works very well), shaking the pan as they cook. This will intensify the flavor and aroma.
So, here is what you’ll need.
Full recipe follows but we cut the measurements back to serve two)
4 boneless rib-eye steaks, about 8-10 ounces and almost 1 inch thick.
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground peppercorns
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, PLUS 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup beef bouillon or beef broth
1/3 cup brandy
Trim excess fat from steaks then pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt.
Spread peppercorns on plate and press both sides of steak on the peppercorns to coat.
In cast iron frying pan melt 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil over medium heat. When butter foams a bit, raise heat level up a notch and add steaks, turning once. It’s 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare so gauge the cook time to your liking. Place steaks on a warmed platter and cover loosely to keep warm.
Pour just a bit of the fat out of the pan and place back on heat. Add broth and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with wooden spoon to get browned bits up. Remove from heat. Important – remove from heat!
The fun part Add brandy and ignite with long matches or lighter. Whoosh (so much fun to set fire to food)
Once flames subside place pan back on stove and add the other 3 tablespoons butter, one at a time, whisking until melted. Pour the sauce over the steaks.
So tender, so juicy…melting in your mouth explosions of intense flavor. Simple and elegant. Delicious.
Next up from this cookbook is a seafood recipe. Scallops in Tangerine Sauce from the Pay-de-la-Loire region.
Bon Appetit, my friends!