Like all classic dishes of any notoriety, Steak Au Poivre has a muddied past full of cultural spats and romantic legends. There are those who say this dish was created by an angry French chef who wanted something spicy and powerful to cut through the American taste buds, especially dulled after a night of heavy drinking. Others say it was a way for this chef to cover the inferior quality of his steaks with the powerful bite of toasted black peppercorns. Our favorite is the most romantic; it was created in the bistros of Normandy and celebrated for the mythical aphrodisiac properties of black pepper. While the provenance may be lost, we can all agree that this combination of steak, pepper, butter, cream, and cognac may be one of the best companions for steak to grace the plate.