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Franglais: Black and Bleu (RECIPE)

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Food to me is all about comfort. The comfort of knowing that your heart is still beating and your clock is still ticking because you're hungry. And if you're hungry for food, you're hungry for life. One of the most terrifying things I can imagine is a woman who has lost her appetite. Dead girl walking (and not eating). The horror.

But sometimes, to be fair, life can really punch you in the face. And those are the days you need a little more comfort than others. And in my mind, those days when the subway never comes or your dog mistakes your closet for the toilet are the days that earn you free hedonistic, bacchanalian license in the kitchen. How good could life be, after all, without a few little sins?

This recipe is for the black and blue days. You're supposed to put steak on a black eye, so why not on a bruised heart or ego? And one slathered in butter, crusted in pepper, and crowned with a dollop of Roquefort will go a lot further to soothing what ails you than a slab of meat cold from the fridge.

Black and Bleu is a simple rendition of tried and true Steak au Roquefort (with a direct influence from Steak au Poivre). The black is from the crust of black pepper than encases a medium-rare New York strip, and the blue is from the two-ingredient Roquefort sauce mounded on top. The heat from the peppercorns and the piquancy from the Roquefort pack a one-two punch in the mouth that will send the rest of your troubles packing. I love this recipe because it is so overtly indulgent, so obviously something you wouldn't eat every day. So it becomes special. But, with five ingredients, and less than ten minutes of cooking, it's something you can treat yourself to after the most harrowing of encounters, or just to make any week night special: for you, for two, for a crowd.

What did I do to be so black and blue? Next to nothing! And next to nothing tastes really good. Bon app!

Black and Bleu Recipe

per person

INGREDIENTS

1 8 to 10-ounce New York strip steak

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, freshly ground (see note #1)

1/4 pound Roquefort cheese

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Freshly snipped chives (optional)

PROCEDURE

  1. Rub each steak all over with butter. Season with salt, and crust with ground peppercorns.
  2. Sear the pepper-crusted steak in a very hot sauté pan (or cast iron skillet if you have one) 3 to 4 minutes per side, and then finish by placing the pan in a 450 degree F oven until your desired doneness (see note #2). Allow steak to rest 10 minutes before slicing or serving.
  3. Meanwhile, make the Roquefort topping by crumbling the cheese and mixing it with the cream with a fork. Spoon on top of the steak, and snip fresh chives over for garnish.

NOTES

  1. To grind peppercorns, place them in a clean coffee grinder and whiz them around to a rubble.
  2. Searing a steak can get tricky. For the steak pictured above, I seared the steak 4 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second, and ran it into the oven for another 3 or 4 minutes. For medium-rare to medium, you want the steak to feel like the fleshy part of your hand beneath your thumb if you touch your thumb to your index or middle finger (an old cook's trick).

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