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                       for 2

Soon after graduating college I spent 2 weeks in Paris. This is where i discovered steak au poivre. I must have ordered it 5 or 6 times- same for onion soup. Finally at my last meal i asked the waiter what is in this sauce? “Ah- that is the secret of Paris”  I’ve made it many times over the years- sometimes using canned green peppercorns in addition to crushed black pepper. But, this recipe, comes closest to my “remembrance of days past” in French bistros. It wasn’t until i added the worcestershire sauce that i nailed “ the secret of Paris”-  the joke was on me- as worcestershire isn’t French but has it origins in England- with Indian influence. The original worcestershire recipe is closely guarded, but basically consists of anchovies layered in brine, tamarinds in molasses, garlic in vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots, and sugar.

2 sirloin steaks- 1” thick*

3 T coarse crushed black peppercorns*

2 T fine minced shallots

2 t fine minced parsley

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 T cognac- or brandy               

1 T worcestershire sauce

2 T cream (optional)

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

kosher salt

Place the peppercorns in a pie tin. Lightly sprinkle both sides of the steaks with kosher salt. Press the peppercorns (or pound lightly) into both sides of the steak. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat oil- med high and sear quickly on both sides. Reduce heat and cook until desired doneness- turning only once.  Remove to a platter and keep warm in the oven.

To make the sauce:

Put the butter into the pan with the drippings- using a flat whisk swirl the butter- and saute the shallots- a minute or two. Add the wine, brandy, and carefully tilt the pan to ignite and burn off the alcohol. I wear a silicone mitt and have a lid close by- just in case... Add the worcestershire and cream and bring to a bubbly boil- whisking all the while- and reducing the sauce a bit.

Remove steak from the oven and pour the sauce over or around the steaks. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

* I like to use New York Strip steaks- but you could also tenderloin. I use a mortar and pestle for coarse grinding the peppercorns.