Steak au poivre (pepper steak)

This is based on a recipe from an old edition of Joy of Cooking that I used to make periodically, but completely forgot about.

1 strip steak
1 tbsp. whole peppercorns

Crush the peppercorns coarsely. Some people use the flat side of a knife, the bottom of a sauté pan, and various other techniques all of which I find send peppercorns flying around my kitchen. I usually put them in a little zip lock snack bag and whack them with a mallet.

Squish the steak into the peppercorns to coat it, then season with salt.

Cook the steak in a hot, dry sauté pan. I cooked for 3 minutes per side and it was medium rare to medium; I probably should have cooked it a little less. Warning: This is a very smoky operation. I wouldn't really recommend this unless you have a good, outdoor-venting hood. That's why I stopped making it! Though, in this house, it was fine.

When the steaks are done, remove the steaks from the pan and drain off any fat or juices in the pan and make the sauce:

2 oz. cognac
1 tbsp. butter
Worcestershire sauce
Juice of half of a lemon

Add the the cognac and flambe.

Add 1 tbsp. butter, Worcestershire sauce and the lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the sauce over the steak. It was delicious!

Pictured above with a salt and olive-oil rubbed baked potato with butter and sour cream on the side.

Update May 31, 2014: Changed the sauce to 2 oz. cognac (from 1 oz.) and butter to 1 tbsp. from 2 tbsp.. It's also good with wild rice mix.