Filet Mignon au Poivre

By , March 5, 2012 21:50

The flavor is rich and complex, yet the preparation is fast and simple. BOOM!!

I’ve been preparing this dish and ones similar for a long time now.  This version just cannot be matched.  I’ve done a lot of studying up on French cuisine and lately it’s been my go to style when making a special meal.

I read a recipe in Saveur which stated, “According to French steak specialist Francis Marie, steak au poivre originated in the 19th century in the bistros of Normandy, where noted figures took their female companions for late suppers, and where pepper’s purported aphrodisiac properties may have proved most useful.”

Well, I can tell you one thing for sure … chicks dig this dish.  Big time!  I’m not sure if it’s due to the pepper or whatever.  Like it matters?

There are a million different ways to prepare a steak au poivre.  And there are many different types of peppercorns to use.  Sometimes I’ll sauté fresh shallots before I add the cognac. Some recipes call for beef stock.  Some call for port or vinegar.  This method has worked well for me and I’m certain you’ll love it.


The Ingredients

  • 4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley


The Plan

Remove steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking to allow them to come up to near room temperature and sprinkle with salt.  The last thing you want to do is immediately start cooking a cold steak.

I use a mortar and pestle to crush up the peppercorns.  Don’t use a peppermill.  It crushes them down too small.  You want big chunky pieces of peppercorn.  Apply enough pressure to all of the peppercorns just so they crack in two or three pieces. Press the peppercorns generously into both sides of each steak till you’re practically covered each surface with cracked peppercorns.  Set aside.

In your favorite skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and olive oil. DO NOT USE A NON-STICK SKILLET!! As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. You want a nice crust on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Pull the pan off the heat and add the cognac.  Carefully ignite the alcohol.  Some people use a long lighter for this, but I usually tilt the pan over the gas flame to ignite.  You have to be wicked careful when employing this technique! Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add a teaspoon of cognac and season with salt. Spoon the sauce over all over the steaks and garnish with parsley.  Serve with your favorite Shiraz!

My creamed spinach accompanies this dish perfectly.  If you’re ever in San Francisco, stop by Izzy’s Steak & Chop House. They serve up a filet mignon medallion au poivre dish that is divine!

Yankees suck!


Filet Mignon au Poivre

Filet Mignon au Poivre

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