A perfect quick dinner for the holiday season is steak au poivre, French for steak with pepper sauce. I used a small piece of beef tenderloin, but any other quick-cooking steak — strip, rib-eye, skirt or flank — can be used.
The accompanying pepper and mushroom sauce uses shallots, a mild-flavored member of the onion family. Shallots break down as they cook, making a smoother sauce than their onion cousins. Red or white onions could be substituted.
The potatoes only take a few minutes in a microwave.
This meal contains 557 calories per serving with 29 percent of calories from fat.
Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: Merlot, which can be nicely rich and peppery itself, would make a fine match.
• The quickest way to wash watercress is to place it head first into a bowl of water. Leave for a minute, then lift out and shake dry.
• Cracked pepper can be found in the spice section of the supermarket.
• Make potatoes
• Make steak
To buy: 1 pound red potatoes, 1 bottle crushed rosemary, 1 bunch watercress, 3/4 pound beef tenderloin (or strip steak, rib eye, flank steak, skirt steak), 2 medium-size shallots, 1 jar cracked pepper, 1/4 pound sliced button mushrooms, 1 small carton light cream and 1 can olive oil spray.
Staples: Brandy, minced garlic, salt and peppercorns.
Linda Gassenheimer’s latest book is “The Flavors of the Florida Keys.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.