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Quasi-Steak Frites

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear Chef Bourdain;
I was torn with making steak frites. It’s not really in your cookbook – though the Les Halles pommes frites recipe is. There are several nice steak recipes though, so I decided to compromise, and use one of them for the steak part. Basically any slab of good beef served with fries is steak frites, right?


And it really was good! I went with the faux-filet aux beurre-de-vin for the steak part. The local Costco had some really beautiful New York strips. Why do the French call that “faux filet”? What have they got against New York, chef?

I also made creme brulee at the same time, but that’s this whole big thing involving blow torches and stuff, so that gets its own post. Also video, because if you’re going to burn shit with a blow torch, you ought to record it. I think you know what I’m sayin’.

So I started with the beurre au vin. I had a bottle of Pasquale Toso that I picked because A: it was cheap and decent, and B: sounds enough like MLF’s first name that she’d be flattered. I chopped up a couple of shallots nice and fine, reminding myself that my knife skills suck (Or do they blow?) and coating my hands with eaux-de-shallot that I can still smell today. Into the pot with a cup of wine, I was making a double helping.


The wine boiled down nice and quick, so I threw it in the food processor with softened butter, parsley and salt and pepper. Then it’s just a matter of rolling it up and cooling it for later.


This looks much less appetizing than it really was. I think I, once again, used too little salt, however. I’m going to write another letter about the pommes frites, since they deserve their own mention – but the steaks were fantastic. Of course, I came into this knowing how to make a pretty mean steak. I used my own personal method since I know it works and you don’t really spell one out in the book, the tricky part of this recipe is the butter – which I now have spares of, in case, as you say, my deadbeat friends turn up demanding meat. This isn’t an unlikely scenario, either. Not quite as wonderful as back in Philly when I had to cook all the “mob meat” that I’d bought from some shady characters who had a case of meat that they secured offa the backa some truck…and then the power went out for two days, defrosting the freezer. Then the carnivores circled like unto vultures, gathered to steal my precious black market flesh. In the dark, since we had no power. It was blackoutlicious!

Anyway, for these I got the oven up to 475, super heated cast iron pans with oil until just before the oil smoked, and threw the seasoned steaks in for four minutes a side, then put the pans right in the oven. Nine minutes later, they came out nicely seared and a lovely medium-rare, with the thicker ones more rare, like you’d expect and the thinner ones more medium. This satisfied the tastes of everyone at the table. I’m pretty proud that I managed it so that they were done resting just as the last batch of fries was coming out, too.

So these were some great steaks. Definitely a “hit” in that I’d do it again, especially since I have a roll of beurre au vin in the freezer, ready to go. It’s mighty fine to be a carnivore, sometimes.

Thanks, Chef!

Categories: Cooking, Eating, Prep
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  1. December 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM

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