Friday, March 6, 2015

Green Peppercorn Encrusted Manhattan Filet

The French classic, Steak au Poivre, is probably my favorite "non-grilled"  steak recipe.  You would think that the big chunks of black pepper would make it overbearing but I think it is just perfect.  This recipe is a variation of Steak Au Poivre.

Green Peppercorn Encrusted Manhattan Filet
Served with garlic green beans and twice baked red bliss potatoes with bacon crumbles.
When my sister, aka "Nibble Me Sis", was in town for a week, she declared that this was the best steak she had ever tasted. The ingredients and preparation are very simple so you want to be sure to use a quality beef since it will stand out.  You'll also need some type of flat grilling surface, like a cast iron plate setter, grilled or pan.

Green Peppercorn Encrusted Manhattan Filet
Serves 4

  • 2 New York Strip Steaks 
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground NMT Beef Rub or other beef rub
  • 2 tablespoons green peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1-2 tablespoon black peppercorns, moderately crushed 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat your grill to 450°F.  Place the cast iron skillet or griddle in the grill to preheat also.
  2. Trim off excess fat from the steak and cut into half lengthwise, resulting in 4 filet total.  Tie around each filet with butcher's twine.
  3. Season each side of the filet with the finely ground beef rub.  Place the cracked pepper (green and black) on a plate and then pressed each side of each steak firmly into the pepper so that a crust adheres to the meat.
  4. Place butter in the skillet or griddle and sear the steaks about 2 minutes per side (see notes).  
  5. Switch the steaks to a raised rack and put them back on the grill with the dome lid closed.  Allow the steaks to roast until they reach your desired internal temperature.  I was going for 130°F for medium-rare and it took about 7 more minutes after the sear.
  6. Allow to rest (or don't) and serve.

steak on cutting board with spices
Since this has few ingredients, you want quality meat.  This time I was using a Meyer Natural Angus NY Strip (Choice) branded as Greenwise at Publix.
I have written about Manhattan filet before.  Essentially you are taking a New York Strip steak, cut it in half, and then trim the fat from around the filet as pictured below with my super graphics.  I like the Manhattan because it is a more reasonable portion.  It looks like a tenderloin filet on the plate but it has the texture and beefier taste of a strip steak.  For Manhattan's you'll want to start with a thick strip steak, about 1 1/2 inches is best.

trimming a Manhattan filet

Do you tie meat only to have it spring loose as you try to tie the second knot?  Start off with your first knot being a "double overhand" or "surgeons knot" (two passes through the loop instead of one) and that will hold as you tie the second knot as shown above. See the surgeon's knot against the steak is firm as I tie the second knot, a simple overhand knot.

NMT Beef Rub
For steaks, I grind my NMT Beef Rub finely as shown in the upper left.  For briskets and chuck roasts, I use very coarsely ground like on the right.

My pepper grinder won't ground coarse enough for my liking so I crush the peppercorns by pressing down on a mallet.

The green peppercorns are much softer and have a rich, mellow taste that goes insanely well with beef in my opinion.  So I like it much more coarse than my crushed black pepper.  I like to use a 50/50 mix but if you don't like heat you can use 75% green and only 25% black peppercorns.

pepper crusted Manhattan filet
You want to get as much pepper to stick as you can get it, it will form a crust.

filet on cast iron plate setter
Here I was using a cast iron plate setter.  You definitely need to add butter/oil because you want the peppercorns simmering in it a bit.  I've tried au Poivre straight up on a dry heat grill and it usually burns instead of forming a crust.

If you don't want to mess with the rack, you can just cook the steaks 3-5 minutes per side on the cast iron.  I like using the two step process, you want the crust dark, not burned.
Note:   If you use a skillet, you can make a peppercorn cream sauce that is fantastic.  Just add a splash of whiskey or brandy and flambe it, letting it burn until concentrated.  Add some shallots and garlic to cook for a few minutes then deglaze that with some beef stock.  Let that reduce to half.  Stir in cream and a tablespoon of cold butter.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the steak.

Another option would be to compliment this steak with my Green Peppercorn and Blue Cheese Sauce.  Personally, I like it straight up without any sauce other than maybe a compound butter on top.

steak, grilled, kamado steak, Big Green Egg steak

Sigh...I could go for a bite of this right now.