Today, I will confess one of my deepest, darkest secrets. I am a happily married mother of three, but oh do I have a chef crush on Rocco DiSpirito! It is a little embarrassing. I mean, really, I am an accomplished 35 years old woman; but when it comes to Rocco I feel like a school girl with the latest copy of Tiger Beat magazine (chef's edition...hehe). Can you blame me??? The guy is HOT, he can cook, he's a runner, he's Italian, and his latest cookbook Now Eat This! is filled with delicious, low-calorie meals that don't sacrifice on taste. Seriously, whenever I think about my boyfriend Rocco I get big, red hearts in my eyes--not at all unlike Pepe le Pew. I even have an ongoing fantasy about a photo from page 162 of the cookbook that I will share with you...just don't tell my husband.
(Okay, my husband already knows. Any talk of this usually gets a yawn and an eye roll response from him.)
As I was saying...page 162. Rocco is seductively eating a spoonful of some sort of delicious concoction from an All Clad sauce pan and eyeing the camera with parted lips, posed in a 'ready to taste' stance. It's as if he is looking right at me and asking, "Jen,please come here and try my sauce...does it need more seasoning? Would it taste better if I took off my shirt?" At this point in my dream I usually laugh coquettishly, and...never mind. Is it warm in here???? Ahem. I can't give you all the details, but I will let your imagination take over from here. I will say that my fantasy does vary from time to time. I like to change it up by imagining different sauces. Some days it is a beurre blanc, other times it's a bordelaise...
"Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!...Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!...Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!..."
Whew, I am okay now.
Anyway, here is the recipe for the steak. Oh, and we paired it with this Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan recipe. Holy yum!
Steak Au Poivre
From: Now Eat This! cookbook, by: Rocco DiSpirito
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon very coarsely ground black pepper
Four (4-ounce) portions lean filet mignon (about 1 inch thick)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
1½ cups evaporated skim milk
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat.
2. Place the 4 tablespoons pepper on a small plate. Season the steaks with salt to taste, and dredge one side of each steak in the pepper, pressing down so that it adheres well.
3. When the pan is hot, spray it generously with cooking spray and add the steaks, pepper side down. Cook the steaks for 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter, and tent it with foil to keep them warm.
4. Add the brandy and the remaining 1 teaspoon pepper to the skillet. While the brandy is reducing, whisk the evaporated skim milk into the cornstarch in a medium bowl.
5. When the brandy has reduced by about half, whisk the cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the steaks, and serve.
On a serious note, this was such a fantastic and low-cal version of Steak Au Poivre. The steak was cooked perfectly, and the sauce turned out velvety and creamy...exactly right. The flavors were restaurant-quality, without the high fat/high sodium content of normal restaurant fare. I think each serving of steak and sauce worked out to be about 294 calories with only 8 grams of total fat. It was soooooo delicious, and did not taste at all like you would expect a "healthy" version to taste. I love low calorie meals that are totally satisfying; and Rocco was right on the money, once again. (It is no wonder why I heart him!)