Main course: serves 2. Total time: 15 minutes
2 x 200-225g thick (this is essential), well marbled sirloin steaks, their edge of fat remaining fully intact
salt
25g butter
1dsp green peppercorns (in brine)
1tbsp Cognac
a small clove of garlic, crushed to a paste with salt
2tsp fine Dijon mustard
100ml whipping cream

Take a thick, heavy-based frying pan (cast-iron, for preference) and allow it to become hot over a naked flame. Generously season only the fatty edges of the steaks with salt, and then, pressed together as one double-thickness steak, place them fatty-edge down directly into the dry pan. Over a moderate heat, allow the fat quietly to crisp up, so exuding its grease into the pan (the steaks should not, assuming you took note of thickness being a priority, topple over). The grease will, exactly, be sufficient to fry the meat itself. Once the fat is sufficiently crisp, turn up the heat and cook the steaks as you normally would, and to your liking. Lift out and keep warm on a plate while the sauce is made.

Tip up the pan and remove the pool of fat with kitchen paper - don't wipe out the crusty bits, please! Add the butter to the pan, allow it to froth and add the green peppercorns. Partially squash some of them into the butter using the back of a wooden spoon, and then stir in the Cognac and garlic (there is no real need to flame the alcohol). Allow to combine for a few moments and then whisk in the mustard and cream until all is smooth. Simmer gently - continuing to whisk occasionally - until the copious amount of bubbles begin to reveal an increasingly brown tinge, and the sauce seems of just the correct, creamy consistency to coat a steak nicely. It is your steak, after all - and I don't really think I have to tell you what to do next, do l?

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