This is anything but your usual steak recipe. The complex Pierre Poivre N.7 spice blend used to crust the beef and flavor the mushroom sauce is proof that peppercorns can be floral, sweet, tangy, and yes, peppery, all at once. It is also proof that all you need are a few great ingredients and the right seasoning to make a great dish. Once you’ve used this pepper blend, there’s no going back to the grinder.
Pierre N7 – Recipe by David Malbequi, from “The Art of Blending” by Lior Lev Sercarz
Makes 4 servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
5 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, halved
1 pound chanterelle or button mushrooms – trimmed, cleaned and cut in half
2 tablespoons Pierre Poivre N.7 spice blend
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup veal or beef stock
4 beef tenderloin steaks (5 to 6 ounces each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces baby spinach
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the shallots, thyme and garlic and cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and 1 teaspoon of Pierre Poivre spice blend and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the chicken and veal stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme and garlic and strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer – reserve the mushrooms and shallots. Return the sauce to the pan and reduce by half. Stir in the reserved mushrooms and shallots and adjust the seasoning.
2. Season the steaks with salt and 1 tablespoon of Pierre Poivre. In a grill pan, heat the oil over high heat until lightly smoking. Cook the steak for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a plate, cover with a tent of foil and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. In a mixing bowl, toss the spinach with the red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and the remaining Pierre Poivre. Divide the mushrooms among four plates and top with the steak. Sprinkle the steaks with salt. Pour any juices left over from the rested meat over the spinach and toss. Divide the spinach among the plates and serve.