Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Steak Frites - My Way

The Horn Player sent a text to me one afternoon recently inquiring about dinner. An ordinary week-day, yes, but there are times when I feel the need to be rewarded for persevering through a rough day. My answer, 'Steak-Frites'. A quick, yet special, dinner that takes little time and it's pretty darned easy too. He approved.

So after work I stopped at our wonderful meat counter in the local supermarket hoping to find a couple of New York Strip steaks. I realize that cut of meat is not the original for making 'Steak Frites', but it's my favorite. Win...they had just what I needed for dinner. When I got home I placed them on a platter to lose their chill and moved on to the 'frites'. 

Potato and Mandoline
The 'Frite' part of dinner is of course fried potato, and I usually do just that. But I love using my Mandoline so I retrieved it from its pantry shelf and began. I peeled four potatoes, although it isn't absolutely necessary to peel them, and set my blade to slice paper thin. I rinsed the excess starch from the sliced potatoes by placing them in a colander and running under cool water. Then onto a super clean kitchen towel to dry. 

Into a butter warmer I mixed about 1/2 stick butter, the same amount of olive oil and 1 clove of garlic minced finely. I heated the mixture until the butter melted and set it aside. Next I made one layer of the thin sliced potatoes into a buttered cast iron skillet and brushed on the butter/olive oil mixture. I sprinkled on salt, black pepper, parsley and green onion and repeated the process until all the potatoes were used. 

Layered and ready for the oven

Next into the oven at 350 degrees until the potatoes are soft in the middle and crispy browned on the bottom. Oh, and I shaved some Pecorino Romano over the top. Slice the potatoes into pie shaped wedges and serve hot.

Not 'frites' but really delicious

Now about the steak. My Mama "fried" steak no matter what cut she chose. She salted, peppered, floured and fried it in a good bit of oil. If it was round steak typically used for Chicken Fried Steak, she pounded it with a meat tenderizer and fried it. If it was a tender t-bone, no matter, it was still fried. Now before you cringe at the thought of frying a really good cut of NY Strip, don't judge it before you try it. The proper way to cook a steak in the Steak-Frite style is actually not much different. It's really the same process except for the flouring part.

I speckled the top of each steak, both sides, with Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper and sort of mashed the seasoning's into the meat. Almost rubbing the spices in, really. Next I placed a small amount of flour onto a plate and dredged the steaks ever so lightly in the flour and shook off as much flour as possible. There is barely any flour on them at all, it's for creating a really good crust. Then, into a cast iron skillet, I added just a light shimmer of olive oil, a tablespoon or so, and heated well. I placed the steaks into the hot skillet and browned on all sides and placed the skillet into the 350 degree oven along with the potatoes near the end of their cooking time. Ideally you would remove both at about the same time. Steaks should always be medium-rare to rare for my taste and that's that. Cook to your own preference, rest covered for at least 5 to 7 minutes on a cutting board. Slice thinly and serve. 

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