Steak au Poivre


When I see an interesting food item in a store for a good price, I’ll grab it and then ponder later on how to use it.  Such was the fate of a package of rainbow whole peppercorns I saw at Cost Plus World Market.  The logical dish?   Steak au poivre.

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups sliced sweet onions (Walla Walla, Maui or Texas)
  • 2 tsp brandy
  • 2 tbsps whole mixed peppercorns
  • 1 pound sirloin steak cut into 4 portions
  • 4 red potatoes scrubbed and cut into quarters.
  • Chopped parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat up 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic and rosemary over very low heat in a medium skillet.  Cook for about 10 minutes to flavor the olive oil with garlic and rosemary.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Discard garlic and rosemary.  Pour the oil into a small bowl, leaving a film of oil in the skillet.

Sauteed onions

While garlic/rosemary are infusing the olive oil, heat up butter and 1 tbsp olive oil in a separate large skillet over medium low heat.  Add onions and sauté them slowly for about ½ hour, stirring occasionally, make sure the heat stays low.  Slow cooking will let the onions go meltingly soft and incredibly sweet.  When onions are very soft, turn the heat up to medium and add brandy.  Stir frequently as brandy evaporates and then watch onions carefully.  Let them brown to a nice caramel color, then turn heat off and set them aside but keep them warm.

Steamed red potatoes

While onions are cooking, put the potatoes in a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water.  Cover and steam them for 15 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.  When they are done.  Turn heat off but leave the cover on to keep potatoes warm.

Steak au poivre

While potatoes are steaming, put peppercorns in a small flat-bottomed bowl.  With a heavy flat-bottom shot glass, press the down on the peppercorns to coarsely crush them.  Pour them into a pie pan and spread them evenly.

Past steaks dry.  Use a pastry brush to lightly brush some olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture on both sides of the steaks.  Lightly dip each steak in the peppercorns on each side.  Grill steaks to your liking. 

Toss warm cooked potatoes in the film of oil remaining in the small skillet, just to lightly flavor them.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Portion potatoes onto dinner plates and sprinkle them with parsley.

Lightly season cooked steaks with salt (salting meat before cooking tends to pull out the juices).  Top them with the sautéed onions or serve onions on the side.  Serve with a side salad.  Serves 4.

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