valentine’s dinner for two: steak au poivre

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Steak au Poivre (adapted from epicurious.com)

2 one- to two-inch thick rib eye steaks
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brandy
3/4 cup cooking cream

Pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt. Press the crushed peppercorns into both sides of each steak. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200˚F/75˚C.

Heat skillet, about 3 minutes on medium high heat.Then add the oil and swirl it around in the skillet. Sauté the steaks 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Put steaks on a heatproof plate in the oven while you make the sauce. Add shallots and butter to skillet and cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, until shallots are browned and wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Carefully add the brandy (because it might ignite) and bring to a boil, stirring until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and boil the sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Serve sauce with steaks. I like the sauce a little browner, so I put some Maggi sauce in it. But you can add Worcestershire sauce for the same effect.

I served the steaks with cauliflower fritters and pumpkin purée.

Cauliflower Fritters
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
3/4 cup grated edam cheese (If I had any I’d recommend Peccorino Romano)
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if less heat is desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
Low fat Greek style yogurt, optional

Separate the florets and boil them in a pot of salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain the florets and put them in a large bowl. Mash the florets.

Add the eggs, cheese, shallot, breadcrumbs and seasonings to taste. Mix well. Form fritters about 3 inches in diameter. You’ll get about 8 fritters. Set aside.

In a 10 inch skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add four fritters. Fry them 3 minutes per side. Set them to drain on paper towels while you do the second batch. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

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