Steak au Poivre is a French classic which literally means “pepper steak” and is usually made with a steak that’s covered in a cream and pepper pan-sauce. If you feel like going vegetarian, or just feel like something a little lighter, it’s also just as good made with a portobello mushroom steak.
Although there’s one slightly exotic ingredient (green peppercorns), the rest of the dish involves pantry staples, and it only takes about 10 minutes to put together making a perfect weeknight dinner.
Green peppercorns are just what they sound like, they’re the unripe drupes of the black pepper vine which are brined fresh instead of dried. They have a marvelous floral aroma and sharp peppery bite that’s a perfect counterpoint to the rich creamy sauce. If you can’t find it, you can also substitute 1/2 tablespoon of coarsely cracked black pepper.
Serve it with some creamy mashed potatoes, or a crusty baguette, or if you want to get a little creative, this is also great atop a nest of pasta.
Portobello au Poivre
- 2 portobello mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cultured unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons green peppercorns in brine, drained
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Clean any dirt or debris off of the mushrooms using a damp paper towel.
- Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat until hot and then add the olive oil. Fry the mushrooms with the gills facing up until well browned on one side and then flip and brown the other side. Transfer to a plate and then season the mushroom with salt and pepper.
- Add the butter and the shallots to the pan and fry until the shallots are fragrant and starting to brown.
- Add the green peppercorns and fry until fragrant.
- Turn down the heat. With the ventilation running on high, add the cognac to the pan. Keep your body and clothing as far away from the pan as possible as the cognac may ignite.
- Turn up the heat and boil the mixture until half the liquid has evaporated. Add the cream and cook stirring constantly until the sauce is very thick. Slice the mushroom steaks and cover with the sauce.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marcs been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.