By Chef Anne Feinman
Your choice of steak may be a sirloin strip, but my preference is tenderloin steaks. As a restaurateur, I have lovely beef tenderloins from which to slice my 8 oz filets, but you may ask your butcher to slice the number of filets you will be serving. I prefer them to be in the 6-8 oz range, no more than 1 ½ inches thick. Our first step is to bring your steaks to room temperature… so remove them from the refrigerator, sprinkle both sides with a touch of salt and allow to set on your counter for about 1 hour.
Now it’s time to prepare your peppercorns, and my favorites are black and green. We need to coarsely crush 1 tblsp per steak. You can use your imagination here by using a mallet or bottom of a heavy skillet, or coffee grinder… just keep them coarse. Press your filets into the peppercorns to cover both sides, more or less according to your preference.
Prepare your skillet by placing on medium heat with ½ tsp butter and ½ tsp olive oil, per steak, and allow to turn golden. I like my steak medium-rare, so I will place them in my skillet to cook for 4 minutes each side. After cooking, set steaks to the side.
Our next step is to remove the excess fat while leaving the crustiness in your pan. Now for the show, if you are inclined, invite your dinner partners to watch this part. Remove your skillet from the stove and add 1 tbsp of cognac per steak. Always recap your cognac and put the bottle in another room! We don’t want to flambé our guests, or our own eyebrows!
At this point, I prefer to use a lighter, but you may choose to use a long match stick. Carefully, light the pan and continue to shake until the flames go out. Let’s now return the skillet to medium heat and add ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, per steak… and yes I said heavy whipping cream! This is not a meal to ask if you can use 2% milk! Let’s bring this to a boil and whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened.
Now, I like to add another dash of cognac! I will then turn off the heat, add my steaks, and spoon the mixture onto each one of them. Oh, the aroma! And the anticipation of those delicious filets joining my steamed asparagus and potato puffs on my plate!
Life is a special occasion, don’t put any fabulous favorite meal off until his birthday or yours! Call friends to dinner, request them to bring 2 French wines, one red and one white and ask that they look up something about the vineyard, the grape, or the appellation (distinct areas where grapes for wines are grown). It makes for an interesting and fun evening…especially if you like to play with fire!
Join Chef Annie at The Chefs Express in Olde Marco to enjoy all of her favorites that will soon become yours! For catering requests, please visit www.TheChefsExpress.com and view the beauty she creates with her delightful creations.