Because black pepper has its own tannins, it is sometimes considered a “wine killer.” Many times, when the tannins of the pepper hit the tannins in wine, the entire flavor becomes what we call “short in the mouth,” meaning that the flavors come to a halt and the taste becomes very astringent. The steak au poivre recipe in this segment was a particular challenge because not only is the meat rubbed with lots of black pepper, we also poured a black pepper sauce over the steak. Aldo found a Bordeaux to pair with the recipe which is interesting because this particular Bordeaux is Cabernet based which has lots of tannins. Watch this webisode of Perfect Pairings to understand why this works so well.
Preheat oven to 500° F.
Heat canola oil in 2 large sauté pans over high heat. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is almost smoking, turn the heat down slightly, add the steaks and sear for 3 to 4 minutes until brown and crusted. Turn the steaks and transfer to the oven and roast for about 4 to 6 minutes or until a thermometer inserted reads 120°F (this will be medium rare).
Remove the steaks from the pans and reserve on cutting board, covered loosely with aluminum foil. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from one of the pans and add the shallot, garlic, peppercorns and butter. Place the pan on the stove over medium heat and caramelize the aromatics lightly. When the shallots and garlic have some color, remove the pan from the flame and deglaze the pan with the brandy. Flame the brandy and reduce by half. While the brandy is reducing, bring the stock to a boil in the other sauté pan, scraping the bottoms and sides of the pan and remove from the heat.
When the brandy is reduced, add the stock and cream and reduce slightly until thickened, about 5 minutes and season to taste with salt.
To serve, place steak in center of the plates. Spoon the sauce over and around the steaks and serve immediately.
Wine Pairings: Clos du Marquis ’04 & Chateauneuf de Pape La Nerthe ’05
6 tablespoons canola oil
4 (10 ounce) beef strip loin (NY Strip) steaks
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons black
peppercorns, lightly crushed
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup brandy
¼ cup chicken or veal stock
½ cup cream
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper