We made this before, and each time it gives me heart palpitations, but we continue to make it. Because it is delicious. Except this time, instead of having a beef tenderloin in the freezer (resulting in filets), we had purchased a large strip that Nick had cut into steaks. It's a great cut of meat, but it is a bit meatier than the melt in your mouth filets, so we wanted to switch up the flavors as well.
We more or less followed the original recipe, but with a few new twists. We added Szechuan peppercorns and allspice berries in addition to the regular peppercorns in the rub and tossed a few mushrooms into the cream sauce.
It tasted surprisingly well. I thought that the new spices added some depth and warmth to the sauce and that those complimented the earthy, meaty flavors of the mushroom and steak nicely.
Strip Steak with Flame Sauce and Mushrooms
2 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2" thick
coarse sea salt
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
2 allspice berries
5 Szechuan peppercorns 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tsp. olive oil 1/3 c. Cognac, plus 1 tsp. 1 c. heavy cream
5 large mushrooms, sliced thin
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.
Coarsely crush the peppercorns and allspice berries with a mortar and pestle. Coat each side of the steaks with the mixture.
In a skillet (we used cast iron) over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. Cook about 4 minutes a side. When the steaks are cooked to your liking (we prefer medium rare on the rare-ish side), remove them from the pan and onto a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest. Pour any excess fat from the pan (we sop it up with a paper towel and then discard). Do not, however, clean the crusty bits from the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/3 c. Cognac to the pan and ignite with a stick lighter. Shake the pan a bit until the flames die and the alcohol has burned off.
Place the pan back on the stove and add the cream and mushrooms. Bring the mixture up to a boil and whisk until it coats the back of a spoon and the mushrooms are tender. Add the remaining tsp. of Cognac and season with salt.
Add the steaks back into the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve the steaks with a heavy drizzle of the cream sauce.