One of the First Romantic Meals I Cooked For My Wife
The first time I made this dish, I was trying to impress my girlfriend (now my wife) with my cooking skills. I would like to think this dinner contributed to our getting married. This was not the first time the Reluctant Gourmet has made his kitchen an arena for romance…… but that’s another story.
So, what did I cook for her? One of my favorite restaurants in NYC is Raoul’s; they make the best Steak au Poivre (peppercorns) in the city. So I decided to reproduce this dish. Since I am a city apartment dweller, I grilled the filet Mignon on my anodized aluminum reversible range top grill.
Just beware they can be a little smoky if you don’t have good ventilation. In addition we had mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and a tossed salad. I also served a wonderful California Cabernet Sauvignon. The result? Well, we had another date.
My Tips for Preparing Steak au Poivre
Prepare what you need before you start. It’s how the pros do it and it simplifies the process when you are scrambling to put it all together.
Make sure the grill is hot, really hot. This will sear the outside of the meat and keep the juices in.
And don’t use a fork to turn the steaks, use tongs or a spatula to prevent juices from leaking out. If you are using a broiler, you want to preheat it to get it hot for the same reason as above.
Buy yourself a potato ricer for mashed potatoes. It a great gadget to have in your kitchen, it looks like a giant garlic press, costs about six bucks, but there’s nothing better for smooth airy mashed potatoes.
A folding steamer platform that sits in almost any pot works great for your steamed veggies. Important, be careful not to overcook the broccoli, you want it to be crisp but tender.
Invest in a salad spinner. They’re inexpensive and work great. There’s nothing more unappealing than soggy lettuce. And speaking of lettuce, you may have grown up on iceberg, but try some red or green leaf lettuce for a little diversity.
4 medium sized steaks about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
5 or 6 medium sized potatoes
1 fresh bunch of broccoli
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat the grill or broiler until it’s really hot. Season the steaks with a little salt and pepper. The meat should be placed about 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and cooked approximately 3-4 minutes per side depending how you like your steaks.
Prepare Sauce au Poivre:
Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a sauce pan and sauté shallots (cooking quickly over high heat) until transparent for approximately 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon of cracked peppercorns. This is the hardest part to making this sauce. I opted for putting the peppercorns in zip lock bag and cracking them on my cutting board with a hammer. Noisy, but it worked. You can also use your pepper mill by adjusting the grind setting to largest grind. This requires your having a good quality pepper mill that has a wide range of adjustments.
Add 1/2 cup of red wine, preferably something you may be sipping while you are preparing this meal.
Reduce this mixture to an essence which means until there is just a hint of wine left in the pan. Add the demi glace, stir (with a whisk if you have one) until completely incorporated.
Simmer until the sauce has thickened, approximately 5-6 minutes. The sauce is thick enough when it will coat a spoon. Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley, stir, and serve over the steaks.
Don't forget to garnish with some parsley for that finishing touch !
That’s it. It’s that easy. And it was as good as any Steak au Poivre I’ve ever had, including Raoul's.
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