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Easy steak recipe: Chef Nancy Silverton’s Chi Spacca pepper steak

Written by the YesChef staff

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Nancy Silverton
Teaches The Pursuit of Delicious
Nancy Silverton is the world-renowned Michelin-starred chef behind the famous Los Angeles restaurant Osteria Mozza. She refers to her other celebrated restaurant, Chi Spacca, as “an Italian steakhouse on steroids”. This easy steak recipe was adapted from the menu at Chi Spacca so that any level cook would be able to recreate this masterpiece at home. Apart from the classic pepper steak seasoning, home chefs will learn how to make a delicious bacon and charred scallion relish topping. Finally, chef Nancy Silverton will give you her favorite essential tips for grilling a New York steak to perfection.
Chef Nancy Silverton
Teaches The Pursuit of Delicious

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Pepper steak, or black peppercorn steak, uses a seasoning technique where coarsely crushed black peppercorns coat the entire steak. The peppercorns are pressed onto the steak with salt to form a beautiful crust which gives the steak a delicious aromatic pepper finish. In this recipe, chef Nancy Silverton is using a New York strip steak, but you can also use a ribeye or another cut of steak you prefer.   The extra treat in this pepper steak recipe is the flavorful topping: a bacon and charred scallion relish. The rich smoked bacon on the grill or in a pan is then tossed with charred scallions, garlic, fresh lemon, and olive oil to create a complex relish to accompany the steak.

Chi Spacca pepper steak recipe

Preparation time Hands-on: 40 minutes | Total: 1 hour 30 minutes   Serving size 4 servings

Charred Scallions

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 bunches scallions, washed and roots removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) olive oil
  • A handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped


Gear:

  • Cast-iron skillet 
  • Charcoal grill or a gas grill, if cooking outdoors
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Vegetable grilling basket

 

Method:

  • Preheat a grill to high heat. Keep one side over high heat (direct) and reduce the other side to low heat (indirect).
  • Roughly chop scallions into ¾-inch pieces and put them into a mixing bowl.
  • Season with a generous pinch of salt and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Place the scallions in a fine mesh wire grill basket and grill over direct heat until softened and charred, tossing as needed, for about 5 minutes.
  • Alternatively, if you do not have a vegetable grilling basket, you may grill scallions whole, and slice them after they are charred.
  • Add the chopped Italian parsley to the same mixing bowl.
  • Once charred, transfer the scallions back to the mixing bowl, add the chopped garlic, and set aside.

Bacon Topping

Ingredients:  
  • 5 ounces (about 140 grams) smoked slab bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup black peppercorns, coarsely crushed, divided
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  Gear:
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Paper towel
  • Rubber spatula
  • Sauté pan
  Method:
  • Chop the bacon and fry it in a pan over medium heat until lightly golden brown but not crispy, 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove the bacon from the skillet.
  • Pour the rendered bacon fat into the mixing bowl with the scallions, add the chopped bacon and stir to combine.
  • Mix in half of the coarsely cracked pepper and lemon juice.
  • Taste and season with salt, if needed.
  • Set the mixture aside.

Pepper Steak

Ingredients:  
  • 4 (½-inch thick) boneless New York steaks, 8 ounces each (about 225 grams), preferably dry-aged. Filet mignon or ribeye cap are also great options
  • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • Kosher salt
  • Reserved black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
Gear:
  • Baking dish or plate
  • Grill pan or a cast-iron skillet
  • Tongs
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Dinner plates or a large platter
  Method:
  • Bring steaks to room temperature before cooking.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the steaks and massage to coat all sides.
  • Sprinkle kosher salt and the reserved cracked pepper evenly over both sides of the steaks and press firmly into the meat with your hands.
  • Brush the grill with olive oil. If you prefer cooking steak in a pan or cast-iron skillet, rub it with olive oil and set it over high heat.
  • Carefully lay the steaks on the grill over direct heat, without touching each other. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, until caramelized and charred. Grilling steak time can vary so pay close attention to the process so that the meat cooks evenly. 
  • If you get a lot of flare-ups during grilling, move the steaks slightly away from the fire.
  • Move the steaks to the colder side of the grill and leave for a few minutes to finish cooking, or until the grilling steak temperature reads your desired doneness.
  • Remove the steaks from the grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes, then cut (against the grain on a diagonal) into ½-inch slices.
  • Spread a spoonful of the bacon topping on a large platter, place the sliced steaks in sections, and spoon the remaining bacon topping on top.
  • Sprinkle with fresh chives and season with kosher salt and pepper, if needed.

Chef Nancy Silverton’s tips for grilling steak

When grilling a New York strip steak, grilling a ribeye, or any other steak, make sure to follow these basic tips:  
  • Invest in a meat thermometer to get the right internal temperature of steak.
  • Know the heat zones of your grill. You can control the heat by paying attention to the hotter sides of the grill and moving your steak around to adapt.
  • Leave space in between the steaks. If they are too close together, there is no room for the air to circulate and you will steam them instead of charring.
  • Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes off the heat before cutting.
  • Slice the meat against the grain on a diagonal for a tender chew.
Serves:
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Hands-on:
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Total:

Ingredients

Recipe

Nancy Silverton

Multiple James Beard Award-winning chef, best-selling cookbook author, and the restaurateur behind Michelin-starred Mozza, a Los Angeles gastronomic institution. One of America’s most influential chefs, Nancy is celebrated for her unwavering pursuit of making the most delicious food possible.

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