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I recently had textbook-perfect steak au poivre at Gjusta in Venice, CA. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a classic French dish of steak drenched in creamy pepper sauce. It’s old school, but I think it deserves a comeback, which is why it got a spot in my first cookbook, out this April. A nice cut of steak is pan-fried (turn on all your vents and open the windows), and its juices, along with cognac, cream, and black pepper turn into a pan sauce of your 10 p.m. Parisian dinner dreams. Make sure to use freshly ground pepper, which has a brighter, fresher flavor than the preground stuff. Whether you use a mortar and pestle or a pepper mill, grind or crack the peppercorns as coarsely as possible so they add big pops of flavor and crunch. —Molly Baz

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4 Servings


1½”-thick New York strip steaks (about 1½ lb. total)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


Tbsp. whole black peppercorns


Tbsp. vegetable oil


garlic cloves, 2 smashed, 2 thinly sliced


sprigs thyme


Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided


large shallot, finely chopped

cup cognac, dry sherry, or brandy


cup heavy cream

Flaky sea salt

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