Steak au poivre (steak with peppercorns) is one of the all-time great French bistro dishes. Few things complement a great steak like peppercorns, brandy, and cream. Needless to say, the original is way out of our budget, calorically speaking. At one-fourth of the original calories and one-tenth of the fat, this version will make you wonder why it hasn’t been revised until now.
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.