Steak au Poivre is an incredibly impressive dish—steak, crushed peppercorns, cream sauce, and brandy!—that deserves a regular spot in your repertoire.
- 4 (7-8 oz.) filet mignon steaks, 1 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 2 Tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 2–3 pieces
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and pat dry. Season all sides of the steaks with the salt. Allow to sit for 30-40 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, put the peppercorns in a resealable bag and use a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet to very coarsely crush them. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Press the peppercorns into both sides of the steaks.
- Heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet (large enough to hold the steaks without crowding) over high heat on the stove. When it is smoking hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the steaks and sear for 2 minutes per side.
- Place the skillet in the oven and cook the steaks to 5°F (3°C) below your desired doneness (use an instant read thermometer to check). For a medium (135°F) doneness, my 1 1/4-inch-thick steaks were in the oven for 8 minutes.
- Put the steaks on plates or a platter to rest, loosely covered with foil.
- Return the skillet to the stovetop and, before turning on the flame (because the brandy could ignite), add the brandy. Put the skillet over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring and scraping up the bits in the bottom of the skillet, until the brandy is reduced to a thin layer, 1 1/2-2 minutes.
- Add the cream, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely thickened, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Add salt to taste.
- Serve the steaks with the sauce spooned on top.