I’m not really a steak and sauce kinda guy.
The option of adding a vat of strongly flavoured blue cheese, bearnaise, pepper or chimmi churri sauce seems to me a waste of a good piece of cow; surely only desired by the kind of mug who orders a fillet steak … which cuts like butter, but tastes of precisely nothing.
Yet I was meddling around for a recent piece on peppercorns wot I penned for Borough Market, and ended up with a pretty damn fit twist on a classic French steak au poivre.
Instead of expensive but pointless fillet, or expensive but no-need-for-sauce sirloin, I opted for onglet, which hangs from the diaphragm of a cow, but packs a bovine punch and can hold its own against a condiment.
And instead of the brandy and cream sauce I got down pat at catering college, brandy I went with a dark and nutty Oloroso sherry to deglaze the pan, stirring creme fraiche into that, before finally some fruity, flavourful Telecherry pepper; and musty, near cinnamon-like long pepper.
Fiendishly more-ish. Have a crack.
Onglet with Telecherry and Long pepper sauce
- 400-500g onglet, butterflied
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 20g butter
- 1 teaspoon long peppers
- 1 tablespoon of Telecherry peppercorns
- 100ml water
- 75ml oloroso sherry
- 60g creme fraiche (from Neal’s Yard)
- 15g fridge cold butter
- Small wedge of lemon
- Sea Salt
Measure out all the ingredients before you cook as it’s a fast meal, and you’ll need things to hand once you begin.
Grind the long pepper in a pestle and mortar until dusty. Tip into a bowl. Add the Telecherry peppercorns and bash them so they’re somewhere between cracked but not fully dust, then mix with the long pepper.
Find a thick bottomed frying pan that will fit the onglet comfortably (or cut the steak in two so it does). Place the pan on a medium-high heat, add the sunflower oil and let this heat up for 30 seconds. Now lay the onglet in the pan; if it’s the right temperature it should sizzle straight away. Sprinkle a good pinch of sea salt over the top and cook without turning for 60 seconds. Then flip the meat and cook for another 60 seconds, again sprinkling with salt. Flip once more and cook for 45 seconds then add the butter to the pan, letting it foam for 10 seconds, before turning the onglet over one final time and cooking for 45 seconds more.
Transfer the onglet to a warm plate to rest, leaving the pan on the hob.
Deglaze the pan with the water, then add the sherry and let this bubble away and reduce by half (around 30 seconds). NB. If you do this the other way round the alcohol may well set alight, given the heat of the pan.
Add the creme fraiche and keep cooking over a medium-high heat for 30 seconds, then drop the cold butter in and whisk into the sauce, letting it bubble away for a final 30-45 seconds. Remove from the heat, add all of the pepper and a tiny squeeze of lemon juice. Whisk once more.
Slice the steak on an angle. Sprinkled generously with salt and divide between your two plates. Spoon the peppercorn sauce generously over the plate, and serve with some robust, flavourful salad leaves, such as red chard, rocket or watercress, to help mop up the juices.