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Steak Au Pouivre



STEAK Au POUIVRE
Johnny's Italian Steakhouse Recipe

Steak
1 thick-cut well-marbled strip steak, about 1 pound total weight, and 1-1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoons mixed whole peppercorns
salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter

Pan Sauce
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup flavorful dark stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


Trim the steak of all the surrounding fat and cartilage. Cut the meat into 2 pieces and crush the peppercorns using the bottom of a heavy skillet. Sprinkle salt  to taste on the top and bottom of the steaks; then press each side into the cracked peppercorns, encrusting the steaks lightly or heavily, as you prefer.

Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy saute or frying pan over high heat. When the pan is quite hot, lay the peppered steaks in. Fry for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until the undersides are well seared. Turn the meat and cook the second side for about a minute. Press with a finger to test for the slight springiness that indicates rare. Cook to desired doneness and remove to a warm platter.


Making the pan sauce: Add the shallots to the pan and saute briefly, stirring with a spoon to scrape up the drippings. Lean away from the stove and pour the brandy into the pan; tilt the edge of the pan slightly, over the burner flame, to ignite the alcohol. The brandy will flame for a few seconds as the alcohol burns off. Cook for a few moments more and then add the stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook about 1 minute to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Finally, add the soft butter, swirling the pan until it melts and incorporates with the juices.

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