Monday, September 14, 2009

Steak au Poivre - A French Bistro Classic

Stroll through the neighborhoods of Paris and you will discover the city's famous bistros, where you can enjoy hearty, home-style food and friendly conversation. Steak au poivre or pepper steak is a well-known French dish that you will most likely find on every bistro menu. It consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon as shown here, coated with cracked peppercorns and then cooked.

I used the Williams-Sonoma peppercorn paste, which combines a hint of garlic and allspice with a blend of cracked peppercorns – black Tellicherry, pink, green and white, in an oil base. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavor of the high-quality beef. While usually prepared in a skillet, I grilled the steak taking care to not let the peppercorns burn. Steak au poivre is often accompanied by a pan sauce consisting of reduced cognac, heavy cream, and the fond from the bottom of the skillet. As I had no skillet with fond from with which to make a sauce, I prepared a classic mushroom sauce using red wine and beef demi-glace. Accompanied by a traditional side of mashed potatoes, it made for an excellent and different take on steak on the grill.


  1. Nice. We love steak au poivre, but haven't tried the WS paste, just bash up some peppercorns and squish the steaks into them. For grilling we tend toward the Montreal Steak Seasoning. Did you use WS demi-glace, too? Looks SO rich. I also love the plates, how very Proven├žal and summery!

  2. I like the WS peppercorn paste because it stays on the meet better than plain peppercorns. I generally apply it to the steak about 30-60 minutes before I cook it. I often use the Montreal Steak seasoning on the grill, but as I thought it was likely our last opportunity to cook out this season, I decided to do them on the grill instead. I did use the WS demi-glace to make the sauce, as I always keep it on hand. With regard to the china pattern, I use that only outside in the summer time. Like you, I think it looks so summer on the Mediterranean.

  3. I also love steak au poivre served with French fries :-)
    It is usually cooked rare in France. This specialty is mostly found in traditional restaurants.
    French Course