Steak coated in fresh ground peppercorns, with a cream sauce accented with VSOP cognac. The creamy sauce tempers the intense flavor of the cracked black peppercorns. I like to use tellicherry black pepper in a spice mill for a really fresh flavor.
In a medium skillet put the olive oil and the butter on medium heat until it begins to smoke. Quickly cook each steak for about 5 minutes on each side. See tips below on how to check them for doneness. Set aside on a plate and cover them. Turn off the heat.
Add VSOP to the pan and ignite the alcohol with a long match stick. (BE CAREFUL: Keep a pan lid close by or fire extinguisher, just in case! Use some fireproof gloves too)
When the flame dies down turn the heat on again to medium.
The sauce will be ready when it reaches nappe consistency. What this means is that you need to put a spoon into the cream mixture and turn it over. Run your finger from the tip of the spoon to its widest part. It you achieve a clean line in the middle, then your sauce is ready.
Now, add the steaks back into the pan and coat them with the sauce. You can serve the sauce on the side of you prefer.
Checking your steak for doneness and softness by poking with your finger. So how soft you say? There is a simple way to do this by comparing the firmness of the steak to the meaty part of your hand below your thumb. So, open your hand and poke that meaty part below your thumb with your index finger. (With the opposite hand obviously, but hey, I just want to be clear.) Feel the softness and this would be the softness of a raw steak. Now, take your index finger and just lightly touch your thumb, don't flex or grip. Poke the meaty part, it is slightly firmer and this how a rare steak would feel. Take your second finger only a touch your thumb, poke and this would be the medium rare softness. Working down the third would be medium and then the pinkie would be well done.