Monday, August 27

Steak Frites: European Style

Steak Frites. Ever have 'em? Travelling in the countryside of France, not speaking the language, not able to read a menu.....we have had our fair share of steak frites. They were ordered out of ignorance and hunger. I don't 'DO' fries anymore. I'm just freaking frite out! But steak? Steak I DO!
Too often, American restaurants miss the mark with this simple French fare. The frites are usually too soggy and the steak just isn’t as flavorful as it should be. I wanted to recreate the steak frites of my Parisian dreams, with perfectly cooked steak and frites that are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. So the search was on my friends!
Delicious FRITES from Normandy!
I found high starch russet potatoes to be the best candidate for the French frites. When you double cook them they yield the crispiest exterior and fluffiest interior. Soaking the potatoes in cold water before the cooking process begins further improves their crispiness. I will's a bit of a hoo-ha to spend extra time making your own frites. If you have the time, they are worth the trouble. If not, grab that bag of frozen frites in the freezer section of your local market. Yes, I know...not the 'frenchiest' of fares but it works!
A view of the the Harbor in Honfleur. The sweet little bistro where we dined is second from the right....squeezed in tight. The quaint boutique hotel we spent the night in was on the opposite side of the harbor. It was a wondrous, awesome evening. One I would dearly love to repeat.
Here she is on closer inspection. The Steak Frites were divine,
  the atmosphere enchanting, the view breathtaking and the chef passionate
about his food...just as it should be.
In France, steak frites are usually prepared with a cut of beef called entrecôte. It's a French cut you won’t find in the States, but is actually quite similar to our American rib-eye steak. Seared in a cast iron skillet, topped with a quick herb butter, the steaks taste just like the Honfleur bistro classic from that starry filled night of long ago.
Steak Frites with juice, is there anything better?
If you are making frites, make sure to drain the potatoes well after frying. While frying up your frites think safety first and use a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 7 quarts. A 12-inch heavy iron skillet is essential for cooking your steaks. This recipe can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 hours in advance. Turn the heat off under the oil and set aside. When you are ready, turn the heat back to medium when you start step 6. The recipe can easily be halved to serve two.


Serves 4


2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, about 4 large, scrubbed,
 sides squared off and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch by 1/4 inch fries
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 quarts peanut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 boneless rib-eye steaks,1 pound each, cut in half
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Herb Butter

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 medium shallot, minced...about 2 tablespoons
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

What To Do

    1. Rinse cut potatoes in large bowl under cold running water until water turns clear. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
    2. Pour off water, spread potatoes onto kitchen towels, and thoroughly dry. Transfer potatoes to large bowl and toss with cornstarch until evenly coated. Transfer potatoes to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let rest until fine white coating forms, about 20 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven fitted with clip-on-the-pot candy thermometer, heat peanut oil over medium heat to 325 degrees.

    4. Add half of potatoes, a handful at a time, to hot oil and increase heat to high. Fry, stirring with mesh spider or large-hole slotted spoon, until potatoes start to turn from white to blond, 4 to 5 minutes. The oils temperature will drop about 75 degrees during this frying. Transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels. Return oil to 325 degrees and repeat with remaining potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and let fries cool while cooking steaks, at least 10 minutes.

    5. Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Meanwhile, season steaks with salt and pepper. Lay steaks in pan, leaving 1/4 inch between them. Cook, not moving steaks, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip steaks and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer steaks to large plate, top with butter, and tent loosely with foil; let rest while finishing fries.

    6. Increase heat under Dutch oven to high and heat oil to 375 degrees. Add half of fries, a handful at a time, and fry until golden brown and puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to thick paper bag or paper towels. Return oil to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining fries. Season fries with salt and serve immediately with steaks.

    7. For Herb Butter: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.
Beautiful artwork we picked up in Honfleur.




the domestic curator ~ ronda

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