This intriguing dish violates at least two laws most people have concerning steak: never season it heavily and never fry it in a pan. But since the taste of this steak is so remarkable, we’ll forget the rules.
Three varieties of pepper are recommended, but it works just fine with just coarsely crushed black peppercorns. Varying the hot sauce used can produce peppered steaks with intriguingly different flavors. Also, experiment by using brown, red, or rose peppercorns. Wrap the black peppercorns in a cloth and crush them in a mortar with a pestle. Grinding them in a peppermill makes the pepper too fine.
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 tablespoon white pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon green peppercorns, crushed in a bowl with a spoon
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 aged and marbled sirloin steaks, at least 1 inch thick
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brandy
- Coat both sides of the steaks with the crushed peppercorns and the white pepper. Press the pepper into the steak with a blunt instrument and leave the steaks out, uncovered, at room temperature, for at least one hour.
- Sprinkle the salt in a large skillet and heat until the salt begins to turn brown. Sear the steaks on each side quickly. Add the butter and cook the steaks for one minute on each side. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the hot sauce and cook another 1 to 3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steaks and the doneness desired. Pour the brandy over the steaks, wait 10 seconds, and then set aflame. When the flame goes out, remove the steaks to a serving platter. Reduce the remaining liquid in the skillet and serve it over the steaks. Ideally, the steaks should be served medium rare.
- Variation: For a heavier sauce, add 1/4 cup cream after removing the steaks.
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Publisher | Christened the "Pope of Peppers" by The New York Times, Dave DeWitt is a food historian and one of the foremost authorities in the world on chile peppers, spices, and spicy foods.
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