Monday, December 21, 2009

A Classic French Day

There are not many things that make me feel bad about my cooking skills, but one thing I wish I did more of was classic french cooking.  I almost always stray toward the more modern style of cooking, but it is always good to know the basics.  In light of that, I decided to do a steak au poivre, which is basically a peppercorn crusted steak with pepper-brandy sauce.  This is an incredibly fast thing to cook, and it only uses 1 pan, so the clean-up is very fast as well.  I served it with roasted potatoes, and that seemed to be a nice match.  I apparently left my grain mustard at my grandparent's house at Thanksgiving, so I replaced it with brown mustard, but if I were doing it again, I would use grain mustard.

Steak Au Poivre (serves 2)
2 rib-eye steaks
1/4 cup black peppercorns, coarsely cracked (like with a metal pan or side of a knife)
kosher salt
Olive Oil
1 tbsp butter
1/8 cup brandy
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp grain mustard
kosher salt

1.  Mix 1 tbsp of salt with the pepper.  Pour 1/2 of the mixture onto a plate and firmly press steaks into the mixture so the peppercorns stick to the steak.  Pour the other half of the mixture on top of the steak and push it into the steak so it sticks.  Let the steak sit for about 10 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, film a large saute pan with a generous amount of olive oil.  Heat over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke.
3.  Put steaks (still covered with peppercorns) into the pan for about 3 minutes per side.
4.  Remove steaks from the pan and cover them with foil while you prepare the sauce.
5.  Add the butter to the pan and scrape the bottom to get all the delicious steak pieces off the bottom.
6.  When butter melts, carefully and quickly pour in the brandy.  If you are using a gas stove, tilt the pan so the brandy lights on fire.  In any event, everything will happen very quickly with the brandy, so have everything measured out and ready to go.
7.  Whisk in the mustard until well incorporated.
8.  Slowly pour in the cream while whisking in order to finish the sauce.
9.  Scrape the peppercorns off of the steak and discard (unless you really really like pepper).
10.  Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the steaks and serve.

I apologize for the sideways-ness of the picture, but the program keeps rotating it and I can't fix it.

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