2 sirloin shell steaks (about 10 to 12 ounces, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick each)
1 heaping tablespoon (a palmful) coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus extra for drizzling if needed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 nip of cognac or 2 healthy shots
3/4 cup beef or chicken stock (eyeball it)
1/4 cup heavy cream (eyeball it)
2 tablespoons (a small handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Season both sides of the steaks with some salt, then sprinkle one side of the steaks with the coarsely ground pepper and press it in with your fingers.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of EVOO, two turns of the pan. Add the steaks peppered side down and cook them for 4 minutes. Turn over and cook 3 minutes more for medium-rare -- cook a minute longer on each side for medium to medium-well. Remove steaks to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep them warm while they rest.
Return the skillet to the heat with a drizzle more of EVOO if necessary, add the onion, garlic and a little salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add the cognac then return it to the burner and let it flame up.
Once the flame dies down, add the stock and cream then turn the heat up to high and cook until it is slightly thickened.
Add the parsley to the sauce and then pour it over the steaks and serve with Carmelized Onion-Dressed Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts alongside