Steak Au Poivre avec des Pommes Frites

A little while ago, my family and I had dinner at a French Bistro on Elmwood called Tabree. From start to finish, the dining experience was extraordinary: the best we’ve ever had in Buffalo. For an entrée, I chose the Steak au Poivre, which I’d read rave reviews about online. It was plated with homemade french fries — drizzled with white truffle oil — and served with mayonnaise. The entire dish was astounding.

So, I knew shortly upon leaving Tabree that I would want to have that same exact dish again: after all, it was nothing short of excellent. However, the overall expense of the dinner at Tabree —  while worth it — isn’t feasible on a regular basis. Thankfully, I knew that the Steak Au Poivre (and the french fries) could easily be replicated at my house. And so, after about a month, I came across a small bottle of white truffle oil at a local grocery store, which triggered my memory of that dish at Tabree. I bought the bottle and the other ingredients necessary for the dish (there goes one paycheck) and set out to recreate Steak Au Poivre: this time, with twice-fried french fries, homemade garlic mayonnaise, and sautéed asparagus (although any green vegetable would pair nicely: broccolini would’ve been great).

Ingredient List for 4

  • 8 Idaho Potatoes
  • 1 Bundle of Asparagus
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • About 1 & 1/4 cups of Canola Oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 2 lb of NY Strip Steak (or other steak suitable for pan-searing)
  • 1/3 cup of Cognac, plus a bit extra
  • 1 cup of Heavy Cream
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Whole Mixed Peppercorns (~2 Tbsp)
  • White Truffle Oil (~2 tsp)
  • Olive Oil (~1 Tbsp)
  • Butter (~1 Tbsp)

For the French Fries (steps 1-8 can be done well in advance)

  1. Peel the sides of the potatoes (leaving the ends with skin). Be a little messy; you can leave strips of skin on the potato.
  2. Cut the potato into planks, about 1/2 inch thick. Because the fries will have the same width on all sides, the thickness of the planks will determine the size of the fries. Slice carefully!
  3. Take each plank and cut into french fries.
  4. As the potatoes are cut, place in a large bowl of cold water. Leave all of the freshly cut fries in the water for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Dry the potatoes using a clean kitchen towel and place in a bowl.
  6. Preheat the deep fryer (or pot with about 3 inches of oil) to 325º.
  7. When preheated, add about two handfuls of the fries in the oil. Stir using tongs to ensure that the fries don’t stick to each other, and cook for 5-6 minutes. (This step pre-cooks the fries: they should be cooked, but not crispy or brown.) Continue until all of the fries are cooked. Note: I like to remove the cooked fries to a baking rack set on top of a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  8. At this point, allow the fries to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes or until needed.
  9. When the rest of the meal is about ready, preheat the deep fryer to 375º.
  10. Place the fries in the oil — as before — and cook for 2 minutes, until the fries are crispy and golden brown. Remove to the baking sheet & rack as before.
  11. Sprinkle with salt and the white truffle oil.
  12. The fries can be left in a warmed (around 160º) oven until everything else is done.

For the Garlic Mayonnaise (can be prepared well in advance)

  1. Mince a clove of garlic and add it it to a small pan with enough olive oil to moisten. Cook briefly until fragrant; do not burn.
  2. Place the egg yolks, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
  3. Pulse until combined.
  4. With the food processor on, start adding in drops of the canola oil until an emulsion forms.
  5. Continue to pour in the rest of the canola oil in a thin stream.
  6. When the mayonnaise has come together, use a spoon to give the food processor bowl a good stir. Taste for seasoning (salt, lemon juice). If too thick, add water — a few drops at a time — and stir. If too thin, mix in more oil.
  7. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Asparagus (steps 1-4 can be done well in advance)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good handful of salt.
  2. Add the asparagus, stir, and cook for about 2 minutes, until the asparagus is just tender but still very firm.
  3. Drain, then immediately place the asparagus in a bowl filled with cold water and ice.
  4. Once cool, remove the blanched asparagus to a clean kitchen towel and dry.
  5. When ready to eat, heat a tablespoon of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil to a pan over medium heat.
  6. Add the asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until warmed. Do not overcook or allow the asparagus to become soft.

For the Steak au Poivre

  1. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Trim any excess fat off the steaks, and cut into portions (about 1/2 lb per person).
  2. Place the mixed peppercorns between plastic wrap and smash with a mallet (or pan, book, etc… I did this outside so as to not damage anything) until coarsely cracked. Spread evenly onto a small plate.
  3. Dry the steak well, using paper towels, and season with salt on both sides. Then, place each steak — one by one — into the crushed peppercorns and flip over so as to coat both sides.
  4. When ready to cook, heat 1 tbsp of regular olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a pan (do not use non-stick: we want the steak to leave residue (called sucs, pronounced syook) on the bottom of the pan so we can prepare a sauce later).
  5. When the oil and butter are golden and begin to smoke, add the steaks. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the steak) for medium rare.
  6. Remove the cooked steaks to a warmed plate (just throw it in the microwave for a minute or two) and cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Take the pan off the heat. Add the 1/3 cup of Cognac to the pan and ignite using a stick-lighter (be careful!). Allow the flames to burn off the alcohol, gentle shaking the pan from time to time.
  8. When the flames subside, return the pan to medium heat and add in the cup of heavy cream. Allow to come to a boil and then reduce for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the cream is thickened and can coat the back of a spoon (nappe). Taste for seasoning (although it should be pretty good by this point.)
  9. Optional: finish the sauce with a tablespoon of butter whisked in off the heat.
  10. Add the steaks back to the pan and spoon the sauce over the steaks. Serve.


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