Sunday, October 02, 2005

Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak)

From the marvelous Les Halles Cookbook by Antony Bourdain
Serves 4

4 225g Steaks (Sirloin or Filet Mignon)
50ml Olive Oil
Freshly cracked Peppercorns (enough to totally coat the steaks)
100g Unsalted Butter
30ml Cognac
100ml Strong, Dark Stock (in order of preference, Veal, Beef, Chicken)
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

1] Get the oven on at 220c.
2] Crack the Peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, you want big lumps, not finely ground.
3] Dampen the Steaks with a tiny coating of Olive Oil, and coat them in the cracked Peppercorns. Don't hold back, use as much Pepper as you can to cover the meat.
4] Heat the Olive Oil in a heavy bottomed pan, ideally a cast iron skillet. Get the oil hot, then add the butter. (if, like me, you only have a skillet that will take two steaks at a time, split the oil/butter/frying into two batches - Whatever you do, avoid overloading the pan)
5] Brown off the Steaks, say 5 minutes each side

Heat the skillet upside down over the hob for a few minutes, this helps to get the heat going right through the metal, and makes for a more consistent cooking temperature.

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