For once in my life, I’m ahead of the game with a dish from French Fridays with Dorie! I was off work for Spring Break, ran across these little steaks while shopping, and the next thing I knew I was all set to prepare Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak.
Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak starts with butter and oil, peppered steaks, and morphs into a wonderfully sauced steak in the end. I wrapped my peppercorns in waxed paper and smashed them with my kitchen mallet a few times. No escaping peppercorns, and nicely crushed. I like to toast dry herbs and spices, especially seeds before I add them to a dish, but this time, the peppercorns are actually a peppercorn crust on the steaks. Since they’ll be getting direct heat all the while the steaks are cooking, they don’t need to be toasted.
When the steaks are cooked, while they rest, the sauce is made. Pour off any remaining oil and butter, and deglaze the pan with cognac (or brandy). This is the touchiest part of the recipe…the alcohol will likely flame if 1) you don’t cool the pan before adding the alcohol to the pan (the hotter the pan, the faster the alcohol produces the flammable vapors); 2) you have a gas stove. Flaming the alcohol is easy enough, and nothing to be afraid of, if you’re ready for what will happen. Flames will jump into the air at least 18 inches and often a full 36 inches. Be ready for that. If you keep a lid that will fit the pan tightly within reach (or better yet, in hand), you can quickly smother any flames that get too excited. Keep your head…the alcohol will burn off completely in a matter of seconds. Next, add the cream and wait for the proper consistency to arrive. It’s really good!