One visit to a lavender farm and you’ll know that fragrant flower isn’t just for potpourri any more. Blueberry lavender ice cream, chocolate-dipped lavender cookies, and lavender salt are just a few of the tempting treats. Lavender has a floral, slightly sweet flavor.
For a special dinner, buy some culinary lavender (or pick it from your yard). Get the finest beef tenderloin filets you can find. (Trader Joe’s has some tasty, tender filets.) This pepper steak has a flavorful spice crust.
Lavender pepper steaks have been my favorite beef dish for more than 20 years. The blue cheese sauce is a new addition to this recipe. If you are not a fan of blue cheese or don’t want the extra calories, just leave it off. It’s delicious either way.
Preparation time: 30 minutes Total time: 3 hours
- Electric coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, or mortar and pestle
- Instant-read meat thermometer (or slice steak to test for doneness)
- 4 beef filets (cut from tenderloin)
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 3 tbsp fennel seeds, coarsely ground
- 1 tsp white peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 1 tbsp lavender, ground to a powder
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 4 tbsp (or more) extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, loosely packed
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (or other liquid: milk, almond milk, or water)
- 2 green onions, sliced thin, green parts only
Grind black peppercorns, fennel, white peppercorns, lavender and salt in an electric coffee grinder. (You could also do it by hand with a mortar and pestle, but that’s more work.) Put spice mixture on a plate. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil on a separate plate. Rub all sides of the steaks into the oil, covering the entire steak in a thin layer. Press all sides into the spice mixture to form a spice crust. Let rest up to 2 hours in the refrigerator, and another hour at room temperature.
Tenderloins can be cooked on the grill or stove top. If you cook them on a grill, you might lose some of the spice crust. For stove top cooking, heat skillet over high heat. Add balance of oil (about 2 tbsp). When the oil is hot, add the steaks carefully so as not to disturb their crusts. Immediately reduce heat to medium. Cook first side until bottom crust browns, about 4 minutes. Turn and finish cooking to desired doneness (3 to 5 minutes for medium rare — 3 minutes if covered, 5 minutes if not). If steaks are very thick, they’ll take longer to cook. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness. Move tenderloins to a warm plate, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
Mix blue cheese and cream (or other liquid) in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds. Stir, then heat for another 20 seconds or so. It’s okay if there are still a few lumps in the sauce. Stir in half of the green onions. Drizzle blue cheese sauce over steaks on serving plates. Garnish with remaining green onions.