Sometimes cooking cuts of quality meat can be daunting prompting what I call fear of the grill–trepidations to go beyond our typical cooking repertoire. Typical doesn’t even begin to describe the box of Omaha Steaks in thanks for watching their webinar about Omaha’s eclectic and happening food scene. File the latter under who would have known Omaha was such a culinary capital?
But after listening to the webinar about Omaha Steaks and discussions from three local chefs with outstanding credentials about how they cook steaks made me realize it was time to up my game.
And so I turned to my current favorite cookbook, The Primal Gourmet Cookbook: Whole30 Endorsed: It’s Not a Diet If It’s Delicious © 2020 by Ronny Joseph Lvovski sent to me by my friend Bridget Nocera of Houghton Mifflin.
It’s a great book because Lvovski has created each of his recipes to be compliant with an amazing amount of diets including criteria for Paleo-friendly, Whole30-compliant, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free. Lvovski goes into great detail about how he developed his recipes and why he made changes so they are user friendly for those following certain dietary regimes as well as being delicious for all of us. After reading his recipe for steak au poivre I decided what better honor could I give my steaks than transform them into a classic French bistro dish?
According to Lvovski, steak au poivre typically consists of grilled filet mignon covered in a rich and creamy green peppercorn sauce made with plenty of heavy cream and butter. Instead he lightened things up a bit and kept it Whole30-compliant and Paleo-friendly by using ghee and coconut milk.
Omaha’s trendy dining scene. Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha.
“The secret to making things taste as close to the original as possible is to cook down the coconut milk with the shallots,” he says in the introduction to his recipe. “This will mellow the coconut flavor, which might otherwise overpower the dish.
“When it comes to cooking the steaks, I’m a big fan of the constant-flip technique, which was popularized by Heston Blumenthal years ago,” says Lvovski, who struggled with a lifetime of obesity, failed diets, and low self-esteem before discovering the Paleo diet. “I have to admit that I resisted it for a very, very long time, preferring instead the tried-and-true flip-once technique. That is, until one fateful day when I was faced with the task of cooking a fairly thick steak without the benefit of an oven and my preferred reverse-sear technique. The result was a perfectly cooked center and evenly caramelized crust. Since then, I’ve been a convert, but there’s a time and place for everything.”
There are a few things Lvovski recommended before considering which method to use. First and foremost, he says the constant flip works best on bigger steaks, those that are at least 1½ inches thick, because you need time to raise the internal temperature of the meat while simultaneously developing a crust. If your steak is too thin, you will overcook the center before the outside has had a chance to caramelize. The constant flip also works better for steaks cooked in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan on the stovetop rather than on the grill.
“Most grill grates are made from stainless steel, to which meat will stick until it develops a crust,” says Lvovski. “Therefore, you are better off only flipping steaks once if you’ recooking them on a grill. Well-seasoned cast-iron pans, on the other hand, are virtually nonstick and are more forgiving when it comes to flipping meat before it has developed a crust. As long as you keep the above considerations in mind, you should have great results using the constant-flip technique when cooking your steak. It safeguards against the fact that all stovetops and skillets perform differently, which can result in one side of the steak cooking more or less than the other.”
Steak Au Poivre
2 (10-to12-ounce) filets mignons (or substitute your favorite cut such as bavette, rib eye, skirt, porter house, flat iron, or New York strip), at least 1½ inches thick
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup full-fat coconut mil
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained
1 teaspoon loosely packed fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ghee
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Whole30 Keto-Friendly, Paleo Grain-Free, Sugar-Free.
Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour of marinating
Pat steaks dry with paper towels and liberally season all sides with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside for 1 hour at room temperature. When ready to cook the steaks, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and pour in 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil. Heat until oil is shimmering and carefully place the steaks in the skillet.
Cook, flipping the steaks every60 seconds, until the internal temperature registers 130° to 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 minutes. Remove the steaks from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to rest for 10 minutes. While the steaks rest, wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel, then place it over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil, then add the shallot. Cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.
Add the stock, green peppercorns, thyme, and a pinch of black pep-per. Cook until the sauce has reduced again by half, about 4 minutes. Fold in the ghee and stir until it has melted. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired. Slice the steaks against the grain and arrange them on a serving platter. Spoon the green peppercorn sauce over the top and serve.
Excerpted from “THE PRIMAL GOURMET COOKBOOK: Whole30 Endorsed: It’s Not a Diet If It’s Delicious’ © 2020 by Ronny Joseph Lvovski. Photography © 2020 by Donna Griffith. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.