1/2 cup black peppercorns
4 (6-ounce) tenderloin steaks
2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup French brandy or cognac
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt to taste
In a spice mill, coarsely grind the peppercorns and spread them on a plate. (Or put the peppercorns in a large plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin or the back of a small, heavy skillet.) Press the meat into the peppercorns covering both sides completely. (Some will come off in cooking.)
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then the meat. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and how you want it done. Turn the steaks over and cook another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the brandy. Return the pan to high heat and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 1 to 2 minutes. Take the steaks out of the pan and set them aside. Add the cream and butter to the pan and cook until the cream has reduced to a thick sauce. Return the steaks to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, and warm them through. Serve the steaks on warm plates and cover them with the sauce. Sprinkle on some salt, to taste.
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