Start this recipe about 4 hours before dinner time, as there’s a rough 3-hour break in the middle.
I used roasted peppers from a jar. Open the jar, take one out, split it and remove any seeds. Open the pepper so that it’s essentially a big sheet of red pepper. Place this on a thick paper towel, then roll it up. The goal is to remove as much water from the paper, as is possible. Wrap the pepper roll in another sheet of paper. Set aside to absorb.
Place 1/2 cup (1-stick/120 mL) into a mixing bowl. Set 2 tbsp (60 mL) aside. Preferably with an electric mixer, whip the butter until it is smooth and lightens a bit in color.
Pick the parched and properly prepped pepper from the paper. Unroll it and give it a nice tidy rustic dice with your knife. Fold the diced bell pepper, 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped thyme, orange zest and a bit of salt and pepper into the butter.
Take a sheet of plastic wrap, roughly 12”x12” (30cm x 30cand lay it very flat on your countertop. Try and stretch out any folds or creases, so that you have a very clean, flat sheet of plastic wrap.
With a spoon or spatula, make a "log" of butter, near one edge of the plastic wrap. You don't want to place it in the middle but follow about 1-inch (2.5cinside the widest edge of the plastic wrap. The log should run parallel to this edge.
The butter will be very soft at this point. Carefully cover the butter log with the 1-inch flap of plastic wrap. Continue, carefully, rolling the butter log, being sure not to apply any pressure to the center of the log. This may cause the butter to leak out the ends of the log.
Once your butter log has been formed, grab the two ends of the plastic wrap and pick up the log.
While holding both sides of the log, swirl the butter log in front of you, like a jump rope. Do not let the ends of plastic twist within your fingers. The goal is to twist the butter log around and around, while tightening the ends of the plastic wrap. This will squeeze the butter into a firm, tight log.
Take your two ends of the plastic wrap and fold them under the newly tightened log and place it in the refrigerator to cool.
While the butter chills and hardens, place the coffee grounds into something wide with a tall lip (I love pie tins for this kind of thing). Evenly spread the coffee grounds along the bottom of the pie tin.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper … perhaps a small bit more than you’re comfortable with (the flavors in this dish can take it). Gently press the nicest flat side each steak down into the coffee grounds. Evenly press the steaks into the grounds, then cover with a plate or plastic wrap and leave out, on the countertop. Just let steaks sit in the coffee grounds for about 2 to 3 hours. This allows the steaks time to warm up and relax, while also allowing the salt to pull out some moisture, which will drip a bit into the coffee grounds, creating a slightly thicker coffee crust.
About 30 minutes before dinner, pre-heat the oven to 450 °F (230 °C).
Place a large sauté pan on the stove over medium-low heat.
Lightly wet the sweet potato disks. Sprinkle and bit of salt and pepper on them (the small amount of water helps the salt stick to the sweet potato … some oil would work, as well). Add 1-tbsp (15 mL) of the fat into the pan. Place the disks into the pan and allow to slowly brown. Once one side is starting to lightly brown, flip them over and allow browning on the other side.
Place a second large sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the second tbsp (15 mL) of cooking fat into the pan and swirl around. Carefully remove the steaks from the pie tin, without getting coffee grounds everywhere, and place the steaks (coffee grounds dowinto the sauté pan. Cook for a good 3 to 4 minutes, making a nice coffee crust. All the while keeping an eye on the sweet potatoes.
Flip the steaks in the pan, then place the pan in the oven, along with the sweet potatoes, until just short of desired doneness (roughly 3 minutes for rare, adding a minute for each higher temperature). Once the steaks are just short of the desired doneness, remove from the oven, turn the oven off and place the steaks on a clean plate or pie tin. Cover with a foil tent and place in a warm spot and allow them to rest for a few minutes.
While the steaks rest, remove the butter from the fridge. Unwrap the butter. Heat your knife under hot water, then dry the blade with a towel. With a warm dry knife, cut 4 thick beautiful butter disks from the log and set aside. It will likely help to warm up the blade between each slice.
On each plate, place a sweet potato disk. Stack a steak on top of the disk, then adorn the steak with a ring of compound pepper butter. Finally, garnish the plate with some fresh thyme.