Au poivre is a French peppercorn sauce that combines cognac, heavy cream and butter served over steak. It also includes garlic and shallots. Did I mention it’s a French dish?
There are a number of ways to go about this. Many chefs like to coat the steak in coarsely ground black pepper then go to the fry. I chose to incorporate the pepper with the saute of the garlic and shallots. I also decided to use filet mignon as the steak and I mixed black and red peppercorns.
Although this dish is based on peppercorns, it’s the flavor of the cognac that really sets it apart.
It’s always better to prep then cook.
Coarsely grind a tablespoon of black peppercorns and about a teaspoon of red peppercorns. Set aside a few for garnish if you wish. If you don’t have a grinder, place the peppercorns in a plastic bag and break them down with a heavy pot or kitchen mallet.
We also need about a tablespoon of chopped challots, a teaspoon of chopped garlic and a sprig of parsley chopped for service.
We’re making enough sauce for 2 filets, about a pound total.
Get a ¼ cup of cognac and ½ cup of heavy cream ready.
Rub the migs with a pinch or two of kosher salt and fry over medium heat in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 3-5 minutes per side, depending how done you like them and how thick they are.
When the migs are done, set them aside. Pour out the olive oil and replace it with 2 tablespoons of butter. Adjust heat as needed and add in the garlic, shallots and pepper. Let some of the moisture bubble out of the butter being careful not to burn it, 2-3 minutes.
Using caution, add in the cognac. Cognac is flammable.
We need to burn off the alcohol, so purposely ignite the booze with a long match or a stick lighter. When the flames die down, add in the cream and warm it through on low heat, maybe a minute or two. Salt to taste.
Plate the filets and dress with the sauce…
…garnish with parsley and whole peppercorns.