French Fridays with Dorie – Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak

I’ve been a ‘good girl’ for most of my life, or at least during those crucial childhood and teenage years.  Sure, I dropped a couple of breakables (and a fib here and there) and engaged in sibling rivalry bouts, but there were no major episodes of rebellious, teenage acting-out.  I would even put a stirrer and a lime in my Sprite in the years of quinceañeros when my classmates poured stronger libations into their sodas.  Some of these suppressed bad girl behaviors surfaced slightly belatedly – well over fifteen years later and at this year’s Semana Santa to top it off.  While looking through the kitchen in the Humacao apartment, we came across the liquor cabinets. Yes, there were two liquor cabinets.

‘Dude… there’s cognac here for Dorie’s steaks!  Let’s take that bottle home, they’ll never know!”

Of course we didn’t take it… but those words escaped my mouth and DH laughed it off after he gave me a look.  Had we known, I would have planned to make the steaks while on holiday.  That’s how I found myself yesterday in the checkout line at Costco during my lunch break, buying a bottle of cognac and a couple of ribeye steaks – the impulse buy I couldn’t resist this time around.   I guess I found my way to be bad although if I had to argue my way out of that one, it would be that we were kicking off DH’s birthday week in style.  There was also the NFL draft and the Royal Wedding to celebrate!


After crusting the steaks with the crushed peppercorns, I seared them in an overly hot cast iron skillet which resulted in the crunchy, blackened edges.  The steak was a perfect medium rare to medium – yay!  What surprised me while reading the recipe was that the steaks were not seasoned with salt until after cooking.  My cognac sauce didn’t thicken too much – I loved the taste but should have simmered it longer.

I served the steaks with the broth boiled potatoes (page 358) and lime-steamed the last bit of spinach I had on hand (page 331).  Everything was cooked and served within 45 minutes, which I loved.  For the wine, we opened a bottle of 2007 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet, which was awesome but maybe a little overshadowed by the peppery beef.  We really enjoyed the meal, although I have to admit that the cleanup activities that followed sapped off a little bit of the joy.

I did get around making the Mustard Bâtons (page 15) from last week’s FFwD assignment.  For lack of poppy/sesame seeds, and inspired by the mustard, I studded my batons with chunks of pink rock salt.  Pretzel française, anyone?  I did half of the pastry dough with mustard, and the other half became guava bâtons, a different presentation to the guava pastelillos that are ubiquitous in bakeries all over Puerto Rico.  Those weren’t overly photogenic, but quite delicious.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group that is working its way around Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table and posting about these recipes on a weekly basis.  Check out how my fellow Doristas did with the Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak here!

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

28 Responses to “French Fridays with Dorie – Bistrot Paul Bert Pepper Steak”

  1. Cher
    April 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    Ah, its so good to be bad :-)I agree – this is the day for occasions!

  2. Jessica of My Baking Heart
    April 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Cute post! 🙂 Love all the sides you listed, too – sounds like a perfect dinner!

  3. Kathy
    April 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Your batons look lovely! What a great dinner to celebrate a birthday!! Delicious I’m sure…nice sides!!

  4. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    April 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    For a good girl turned bad (a la Rihanna), you sure haven’t done too badly here with your steaks and puff pastry batons. I must say, I like your addition of pink salt and guava spread…they sound yummilicious!

  5. Mary
    April 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    What a lovely recipe. You did a great job with the challenge. This is my first visit to your site and I’ve been exploring and browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  6. amanda @ fake ginger
    April 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I laughed at your story! That’s definitely something I would say (but never do!). Your steak looks delicious!

  7. KarenP
    April 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    This week’s recipe was worth being bad for and definitely worthy of a celebration!

  8. Krissy
    April 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I have a flaw…I like my meat really well done so your photo actually calls to me…most Doristas have the rare tastes, but I like your more done steak…glad you had fun with it.

  9. Anne-Marie
    April 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Always love your stories–and your steaks look good, too!

  10. briarrose
    April 29, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    Beautiful peppered steak. I am such a pepper hound that this had me drooling. The batons have lovely color.

  11. Liz
    April 29, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    LOL, my husband gives me that look, as well! WAY too often 😉 Beautiful steak…I like the charred edges!

  12. Eileen
    April 29, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

    How interesting to put guava in the batons! I definitely need to try these–mustard or otherwise. Everyone’s pictures from last week look deliiiicious. I’m afraid I’d eat them all myself and explode, though. I’m not good at rationing myself.

  13. yummychunklet
    April 30, 2011 at 12:29 am #

    I think both your ffwD recipes turned out so tasty looking. Great post!

  14. Patty
    April 30, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Yes Adriana, sometimes it’s good to be bad;-)I’ve enjoyed all Dorie’s recipes and they make me feel like I’m in France or maybe even Paris!Your steak looks yummy, I think this recipe was one of the best so far;-)

  15. Kayte
    April 30, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I am cracking up over you and that liquor cabinet…lol lol. You are a good girl…you didn’t swipe it! You did great getting two recipes done in one week…I still need to get to those batons. Maybe tomorrow…you are inspiring me to get it done! Loved your post and food.

  16. henri
    April 30, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    Great story, you’re food looked delicious!!! I agree about the salt I was surprised too.

  17. Betsy
    April 30, 2011 at 3:17 am #

    Great post! I was laughing at your temptations. I love the big salt crystals on your batons! I like your Dorie menu to accompany the steak.

  18. Elaine
    April 30, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Your steak and batons look fantastic! What a great meal and so worth standing in line at Costco during your lunch hour. 🙂

  19. tricia s.
    April 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Hilarious. My husband had laughed when he found out I put our single distillery cognac in the recipe, but we both agreed that it was lovely to actually use the stuff. Those liquor cabinets overflow over the years 🙂 Wish our Costco sold booze. In PA we have to buy it at a “state store” but I miss the selection and price that Costco offered. PS -I used caraway seeds on my batons and they were insanely good, though yours certainly looked fabulous too. I have caraway on hand more often than sesame seeds.

  20. Yuri
    April 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    You did a lot of cooking this week, Adriana 🙂 the batons with the pink salt look so good! I’m probably trying them soon.

  21. Cakelaw
    May 1, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Love your cognac story. Your steak looks good, and the pink rock salt in the batons is so pretty.

  22. Teresa
    May 1, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    This steak is a great way to be bad! We had the broth-braised potatoes, too, along with the garlicky broccoli from a few weeks back. The lime-steamed spinach is on my list to try. I love how the batons look, studded with pink salt. Your guava version sounds lovely, too.

  23. Candy
    May 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Great post! Love the pink salt on your batons!

  24. Lynne
    May 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    A beautiful steak meal! The potatoes and the spinach are perfect sides for this hearty pepper encrusted steak. Funny story about the cognac! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  25. Kate@Diethood.com
    May 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    Happy Birthday to him! What a delicious way to celebrate…yum! This really was a fantastic dish!

  26. Susan
    May 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Lovely post, Adriana! I think Rib-eye steaks work great for this type of recipe as well.

  27. Allison
    May 9, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    I still dream of that steak… almost made it again this weekend… I guess the better question is why am I denying myself? Great post!

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