It's time for our Valentine’s Day main course — STEAK AU POIVRE. One of my absolute favorite, sumptuously hedonistic steak preparations: a gorgeously marbled NY strip steak, crusted with crushed peppercorns, and bathed in a luscious, brandied cream sauce…
And what’s steak without her potato? These RED BABY BLISS GARLIC POTATOES are glossed with olive oil, fresh thyme, and a generous shower of chopped garlic, then oven roasted until they turn a deep dark golden brown with a soft, fluffy interior — perfect for soaking up any leftover au poivre sauce!
Prep time: 30 minutes + overnight refrigeration
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 prime boneless New York Strip Steaks (1 ½-inches thick, 1 ½ to 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup brandy
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Flaky sea salt, to serve
3 russet potatoes, peeled (4-inches long, about 3 pounds)
Sea salt, to taste
2 quarts canola oil, for frying
4 cloves garlic, grated
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
•Dry the steaks very well using a paper towel. Liberally salt both sides of the steaks and place them onto a wire baking rack fitted into a rimmed baking sheet. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. (You can also do this up to 8 hours before and keep them uncovered in the refrigerator on the rack.)
•Salting the steaks draws out excess moisture which gives you that delicious golden brown crust when you sear the meat with an extra tender inside. If you do choose to salt the steak for multiple hours in advance, be sure to remove the steaks 30 minutes prior to cooking to sit out at room temperature.
•When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425ºF.
•Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle (if you have) or the bottom of a frying pan, gently crush the black peppercorns in a clean kitchen towel until they look like a rough chop. Place them into a shallow dish.
•Pat the steak dry once more and press the steak into the peppercorns to coat on both sides.
•Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the avocado oil and swirl to coat. Place the steaks into the pan, and cook on the first side for 3 minutes until golden brown.
•Flip and cook another 3 minutes on the second side until nicely browned. During the last minute of cooking add the butter, garlic, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, baste the steaks with the melted butter by spooning some of the pan juices over the top of the steak. Lastly, turn the steaks on their sides to brown the fat cap as well for one minute.
•If you have a meat thermometer that has a cord to go inside the oven, insert the thermometer into the steak. Place the whole cast iron skillet into the oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until 125ºF for medium rare and 135ºF for medium.
•Remove the steaks from the oven and place on a cutting board to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. During this time the steaks will continue cooking inside to reach the perfect temperature. Resting the steaks is essential to make sure the juices don’t leach out too much when you slice to serve them later.
•While the steaks rest, make the sauce. Remove the whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and any peppercorns that fell off the steak (to your preference), and discard. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the shallot. Allow the shallot to cook for 2 minutes until softened.
•Remove the skillet from the heat and then add the brandy, be cautious the brandy may ignite when added to the pan just be sure to remove the pan from the heat until the flame extinguishes. Allow the brandy to reduce for 1 to 2 minutes until almost evaporated. Whisk in the chicken stock, bringing it to a simmer and scraping up any of the browned bits. Whisk in the cream and continue to simmer and reduce the sauce for another 3 to 4 minutes until slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon in an even layer. During the last minute of cooking whisk in the Dijon mustard and season with additional salt if needed.
•Slice the steak against the grain into ½-inch thick slices, spoon the sauce over top, garnish with parsley, flaky sea salt, and serve with the fries.
•Cut the potatoes into ½ to 3/4-inch thick wedges and place into a large bowl. Cover with cold water and add a couple handfuls of ice cubes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt into the water and place in the fridge to soak overnight (if you don’t have time, then soak for at least 30 minutes).
•Soaking the potato wedges is an essential step in ensuring that the excess starch of the potatoes is removed to ensure we get the crispiest fry on the outside with a fluffy potato inside.
•When ready to fry, add the oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 300ºF. We are using the double fry method here for a crispy outside and fluffy inside. The first step is to parcook the wedges.
•Remove the potato wedges from the ice water and pat very very dry with a clean kitchen towel—this is extremely important to make sure the skin of the fry remains extra crispy and to make sure you don’t cause the oil to sputter from excess water on the potatoes.
•Place a baking rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet or line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Fry the potato wedges for 4 minutes in batches until parcooked and blonde in color (the potatoes should have little to no color here). It’s best to fry in batches so that the wedges are cooked evenly. Use a fry spider or tongs to remove the fries to the paper towel lined baking sheet. Be sure to allow the oil to come back to temperature before adding another batch of potatoes.
•Line a second rimmed baking sheet with new paper towels for the second fry, then increase the oil temperature to 350ºF. Add the parcooked potatoes back into the oil and cook until deeply golden brown and crunchy, another 5 minutes. The potatoes will become dark golden brown fairly quickly in the second fry, but continue to cook so that they get extra crunchy—you will be able to hear the crunch on the spider when you stir the fries in the oil. Drain quickly on the new paper towels and season immediately with salt.
•Remove the hot fries to a large bowl and immediately toss with salt, garlic, parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve hot. You can hold the fries in a 250ºF oven on a wire rack until ready to serve.