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Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre (pepper steak) is a French term for steak that is crusted in coarsely cracked peppercorns before cooking. It's frequently seen on steakhouse menus, but making it at home is really very simple and far more economical. We crusted 1-inch thick filet mignons (see notes) in red, green and black peppercorns, pan-seared them and finished the cooking in the oven. Then while the steaks rested, we made a quick balsamic-cream sauce to drizzle on top before serving.

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 1-inch thick filet mignons (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon green peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the peppercorns and sea salt in a zip-top sandwich bag. Lay on a flat surface and using a rolling pin, crush the peppercorns to a coarse, relatively uniform consistency.

Brush one side of the steaks with olive oil, then sprinkle half of the pepper mixture evenly over all 4 pieces. Rub the pepper into the meat using the back of a spoon, then repeat the process on the other side.

Film the bottom of a heavy oven proof skillet (we recommend cast iron) with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and sear just until they're no longer stuck to the pan, between 60 and 90 seconds, then turn with tongs and sear the other side for the same amount of time. Remove from the heat immediately and place in the oven to finish cooking, 4 minutes for medium rare.

Transfer the steaks to a platter and place the pan back on the stove over medium heat. Add the vinegar to the pan and cook until bubbly, 1 minute, scraping up any bits of pepper with a spatula. Stir in the cream until well blended. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the steaks before serving. Roasted potato wedges and sautéed spinach make a great accompaniment.

Makes 4 servings

About the steaks:
We use filet mignons for this recipe, but any tender, boneless steak suitable for grilling or broiling will work. You may have to adjust the finishing time in the oven, depending on the thickness.

About the peppercorns:
We used a combination of black, green and pink peppercorns because we like the somewhat milder flavor that the green and pink varieties impart. You can certainly use all black peppercorns if desired and up the quantity if you like a very spicy pepper flavor.

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