Keeping It Classic: Steak au Poivre, Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

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Not the best images as they were all snapped quickly with the iPhone. We were concentrating more on eating than snapping, as it should be.

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but classic meals are timeless!

I was reminded of that once again last Friday night, when I shared this meal with my Valentine. We rarely eat steak, and even more rarely purchase filet of beef tenderloin, but since this was Valentine’s Day and we were dining chez moi, I decided to keep things very old school. Steak, potatoes and asparagus…that’s about as classic and old school as it gets.

It was a pretty snow, but that's actually about 1/2" snow on top of ice.

It was a pretty snow, but that’s actually about 1″ of snow on top of ice.

I ran through the grocery rather frantically on Friday—Valentine’s Day itself—after days of being “trapped” in our house last week from yet another winter storm. When I arrived at the butcher counter, a smiling young woman asked me what I wanted, saying that this was the kind of day that you just couldn’t be anything but happy. She was right. I ordered my two beef tenderloin filets and she handed them to me nicely wrapped in butcher paper—along with a beautiful little lobster tail! “Today only, we’re giving away a free lobster tail when you buy steak, for as long as they last…and you’re the last one!” she called out, beaming at me. And by this time I was beaming back, let me assure you, as I absolutely adore lobster. Surf and Turf for dinner—even more classic than I’d intended! Sweet.

After securing my ingredients for dinner and dessert, I was back home in a flash. And here’s what our very classic Valentine’s evening menu included:

Artichoke Squares
Schramsberg Brut Rosé 2009 Napa Valley

Steak au Poivre
Lobster tail sautéed in butter and finished with lemon
Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Fourme d’Ambert
Roasted Asparagus
2002 Titus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Coffee Ice Cream
(Another glass of the Schramsberg, naturally!)

MoltenchocolatecakeA truly elegant and deliciously decadent dinner, easily made and costing literally pennies on the dollar of what you’d pay to eat it in a restaurant. And with the most intimate setting—our own dining room. Lovely evening.

But it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to enjoy this simple feast. These are classics for a reason…they’re delicious any time. This terrific meal comes together so quickly (if you’ve made and frozen your artichoke squares ahead of time like I told you), that you’re out of the kitchen in no time flat and able to relax and enjoy. See below for the recipes and links (in red.)

Bon Appétit!

Artichoke Squares (from my last post)

Steak au Poivre (Alton Brown)
Notes: I used a mixture of black and pink peppercorns because I had them left over from making Chai Tea mix. I’ve had this dish at a restaurant made with all green peppercorns, and it was amazing.

Lobster Tail Sautéed with Butter and Finished with Lemon
Simple is best here, and this allows the sweetness and natural briny flavor of the lobster to shine through. It also keeps the meat from getting rubbery, just don’t over cook it.

1 small cold water lobster tail removed from its shell and split in half lengthwise (small tails are typically sweeter meat)
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Melt the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add the two sides of the lobster tail, making sure each is on top of the melted butter, and cook for 3 minutes, then flip the tails to the other side and cook for 3 minutes more, or until the meat has just turned opaque. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the meat. Plate the lobster meat and pour the lemon butter mixture remaining in the pan evenly over the top of the lobster meat. Eat and wish you had about 5 more small lobster tails.

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes (The Neeleys)
This is a brilliant way to make mashed potatoes and I wish I’d discovered it sooner. You dice and cook your potatoes leaving on the skins, heat your cream and butter separately, add the blue cheese, then pour that over the drained potatoes and then mash…brilliant. I used Fourme d’Ambert blue cheese which is readily available here, creamy and lovely. Use your favorite cheese or no cheese, and do a happy dance!

Roasted Asparagus
(2-4 servings)

1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, washed and tough bottoms of the stalks removed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Toss the asparagus spears in the olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, checking them after about 10 minutes and turning them over. They are done when the asparagus is tender and has a few browned spots on the stalk. Serve.

Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cakes with Coffee Ice Cream (Bon Appétit Magazine)
I’ve been making this dessert since it first appeared in the magazine in January of 2003 and it’s always a winner, always reliable and always impressive. I’ve added a pinch of cinnamon to mine, or sometimes a bit of grated orange zest, and tried different ice creams, too, just to change it up. They’re not too hard to make, either. You can make these a few hours ahead of time, or the day before, then store them covered in the fridge, pull them out to get back to room temperature while you eat dinner, heat the oven up, bake them just after the meal and serve. What’s not to love?

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46 thoughts on “Keeping It Classic: Steak au Poivre, Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

    • Thank you, Lisa, for your wonderful comment. 🙂 I love cozy nights in, especially when you decide to dress them up a bit! I’d love a molten chocolate cake most any day…fortunately I don’t make them TOO often. 😉

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  1. What a lovely dinner. I loved the description leading up to cooking it. The buying, the smiling, the “free” lobster tall. I even love your iPhone photograph. Really, the best pictures are taken with the iPhone. And I enjoyed your picture of the snow!

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    • It was fun. I often cook Valentine’s dinner in because it’s so crazy in the restaurants around here. Though I have a tendency to go for something that keeps me in the kitchen for so long I get exhausted by the time it’s served, so this was perfect. 😉

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    • I’ve heard it said around here that going out on Valentine’s night for dinner is for amateurs. I’m not sure I agree, but it sure is less stressful and more intimate to stay in and make your own, isn’t it? The lobster was definitely a bonus! 🙂

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  2. Hi Betsy! We also had steak for our Valentine’s day meal… cooked by some complete idiot in a restaurant. I guess he was some kid straight out of culinary school who thought he knew better than generations of meat and butchery knowledge. He decided to serve pan-fried chuck steak, as in, in the same style as you’d serve a good rump or filet steak. It was like eating a car tyre and was about 70% gristly fat. Disgusting!

    Yours looks significantly better… wish I’d had that!

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    • Hi Charles! Well that sounds perfectly horrid…I’m so sorry. I’m not a huge fan of chuck steak for that very gristly and rubber-tire reason, though it can be cooked properly. As I mentioned, I don’t cook steak very often, but I have to say these were perfect, rare with a lovely seared peppercorn crust. I usually don’t like my meat rare, either, but in this case it was the way to go. I think you need to cook some filets for you and yours just to get that nasty taste out of your mouth! 😉

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    • Thank you, Charlie Louie, the roses were from my husband…so sweet. The snow is miniscule by comparison to the north and western parts who have been deluged. But we just don’t get much here…we get ice or snow on top of ice, which is what this was. A layer of ice with an inch of sleet pellets and almost an inch of snow. I feel so for the folks who are still snowed in up north.

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    • It really was a delightful surprise, and while I imagine they compensated a bit with the price of the meat, it still worked out to be economical by comparison to eating out for sure. Lobster is very high here, so I wouldn’t have had it otherwise. 🙂 Hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day. I still can’t believe all the snow you have up there. You must be tired of it.

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    • Hey Dedy! The meal would cost at least $100 in our local restaurants, not including the dessert. The two bottles of wine would add another $150-200 USD. Our cost was about $50 USD, because one bottle of wine was a gift, LOL! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

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    • Hey Jed! I’m so glad you like the sound of this meal and thanks so much for your comment. The Titus was a gift from friends who went to Napa. It worked really well with the meal and we uncorked it about an hour and half before imbibing, which it needed. Of course the Schramsberg is a no-brainer. I could drink that every day if I had the pocket book or the liver for it! 😉 I am well and hope that you are, too. I need to come and visit…been a little harried here lately. 🙂

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  3. I’ve seen that blue cheese mashed potatoes floating around and each time I do I smack myself for not trying them sooner. Your valentine’s dinner is beautiful Betsy, I hope you and your lovely valentine had a most wonderful day and evening. Hope the snow is starting to melt, we’re expecting an inch or so of rain and they are particularly concerned of flooding since the ground is still frozen. It’s really not been a pretty winter at all.

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    • Hi Eva and thanks for your lovely words. We did have a wonderful day and evening on Valentine’s and I hope you and JT did, too! All of our snow is gone and it’s been 70 degrees here for two days which is a little weird. I think I saw on FB that you got snow instead of rain? You must be sick of it by now!

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  4. I saw this post on facebook and it was just stunning. Your main squeeze is quite the lucky one as it looks like you went all out on a tasty dinner. Of course I am sure you cook like for him every night, right? Wink. Wink… Have a super weekend. BAM

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    • Hey BAM, thanks for your lovely compliment! I did go kind of all out on this meal, but unlike other ones, this one wasn’t hard at all. I’m usually exhausted after I get a Valentine’s dinner on the table, so this was a lesson as well as a great meal. Probably a good thing I don’t cook like this every night…we wouldn’t be around to tell the tale! 😉 You have a great weekend, too.

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    • Thank you, Claire, and I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day as well! Our asparagus isn’t local yet…I cheated and bought what they had from South America because I just wanted asparagus with the meal. It’s the only asparagus I’ve bought since last spring, though! 😉

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