PAN-SEARED FILETS MIGNON AU POIVRE (with pepper, for four)
4 center-cut filets mignon, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick, 7 to 8 ounces each, trimmed of fat and silver skin and dried thoroughly with paper towels
For the marinade:
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup olive oil
1 scallion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon thyme
6 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
For the black peppercorn crust:
5 tablespoons black peppercorns (preferably Tellicherry), cracked (coarsely crushed in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet)
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Green peppercorn butter for serving
- Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the steak. Cover and marinate up to 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Turn occasionally.
- Heat peppercorns and 5 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over low heat until faint bubbles appear. Continue to cook at a bare simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until pepper is fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When mixture is room temperature, add salt and stir to combine.
- Drain the meat and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub steaks with black pepper mixture, thoroughly coating top and bottom of each steak with peppercorns. Cover steaks with plastic wrap and press gently to make sure peppercorns adhere, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet (not non-stick) over high heat on the stovetop until very hot. Add 2 teaspoons oil, swirl to coat skillet, place steaks in skillet and sear for 1 minute on each side, turning with tongs. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, turning every other minute with tongs, until well browned and a nice crust has formed, a total of about 8 minutes for medium rare meat. Transfer steaks to a warm platter, brush with peppercorn butter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let filets stand for 5 minutes and serve topped with a dollop of peppercorn butter.
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook