By popular request: Steak & oven frites.


I had to try this again, just to get photographic evidence. First, the steak part.

I used Kobe flatiron steaks, because they are the best deal going, steakwise. Considering that Kobe beef can hit upwards of -- no typo -- US$180/lb., this steak at a piddly US$5.99/lb. is practically theft.

These steaks come from what is most commonly called the "top blade roast." As you can see, it has one serious line of connective tissue down the center. Until fairly recently, this roast was sliced into steaks (the top blade steak) which preserved intact the connective tissue. Which made it really cheap, because even the 2nd tenderest steak with incredibly beefy favor (look at that marbling, and groove mightily therewith) will suffer in price when you have that inedible hunka gristle dividing it.

The trick is, simply to cut (or have the butcher cut) the icky bits out. In butcher parlance, you want the top blade roast (in case it's called something else where you are, use the comes from the chuck/shoulder area), and you want it "seamed out" and then you want the two main hunks cut across equatorially. Like so...

This should give you three decent steaks of about 10oz each (we cut one of those into halves for the kids) with some fiddly bits left over. Which you then grill ("barbecue") or sear in a hot skillet until done to your liking. (I like to season them very simply and give them a hard 3 minute sear per side, and then let it rest over a low heat. This results in medium-rare. TFBIM likes medium better, but we're working on her.)

This is how they look coming off the grill.

Now the frites. Start with the humble potato. In this case I was trying out a russet (any other "starchy" potato should prove equivalent) to compare it with the waxy ones of last week.

Cut them into the appropriate frites shape. Approximately 16 per potato.Put them in your steamer basket. Steam them until JUST PLIABLE. If you go beyond this two things (both bad) will happen: The starches in the potato's cut surface will gelatinize and will inhibit crispness and the potato flesh will overcook and break apart. You want the potatoes, duly steamed to offer SLIGHT resistance to a knife tip, but not so yielding the knife exits the other side with ease. This means 3-5 minutes (depending on the frites' dimensions) over a rolling boil.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Put in a roasting pan drizzled with oil (for this, I prefer peanut oil, you do whatever).

Toss in the steamed frites and drizzle more oil (You'll use less than a 1/4 cup for two whole potatoes) and then toss. Plunk back in the oven at 350F. In three minutes...

Set the oven to "broil." Blast the frites for 2-3 minutes (you should hear the sizzling, otherwise it's OK to peek once or twice).

Throw on paper towels (if you can find the brown paper towels you're in beautiful shape) and season generously with coarse sea salt.

Now, for a quickie tomato-shallot/spring onion pan sauce.

Take a pat of butter.

Melt it.

Chop a spring onion or shallot or even an sweet onion as fine as you can stand. This is halfway fine for me. (No pix of the later stages as I was weepy.)

Sautee the onion in the butter. When it's translucent, add a good tablespoon of tomato paste or, in this case, a couple of tablespoons of some leftover marinara sauce and a quarter cup of beef stock and any of the collected steak juices. (The latter is key.) At the very end add another pat of butter and OFF THE HEAT stir it in to dissolve it. If you let it melt first and then dissolve it, your sauce will be all separated and greasy looking and disgusting. This, for you lurid types, is called "mounting."


This is the pile o' steak with some steamed asparagus.

This is NOS's plate (he put the sauce on the asparagus for some reason)

This is TFBIM's steak --perfectly medium, trust me, even though the photo is bad-- and this is the excellent wine:2001 Sterling Merlot, Napa Valley...the tannins have pretty much yielded to the fruit, and it complements the rich-ish steak beautifully.

There ya go!



Badger said…
So you are saying don't get top blade steaks? Get the roast and have it custom cut, or cut it yourself?

Damn, this looks good. Like we don't eat enough beef ovah heah already. Oy.
Badger said…
Oh, and P.S.: were the russets okay, in the end? Or is waxy the way to go?

Am I asking enough questions? Is there a DVD or CD-ROM I can order?
Joke said…
1- Yes, that's what I'm saying. I mean, if that's all you can get, it'll be a'ight. Only that the individual pieces o' cow will be 1"x1"x6". Ideally you'd get it and have it cut/cut it your own bad self.

2- The russets are, technically, better. However, they are FAR less forgiving. Some of the ones that sat in the bottom of the steamer didn't crisp up quite right. The waxy ones (I used the "Butter Bud" red fingerling varietal) had a far better margin for error. I will attempt this later with Yukon Golds which are ostensibly an in-between sort.

3- I am tempted to put these things on YouTube. As soon as I figure out how.

Stomper Girl said…
Did NOS enjoy the "sparrows-guts" with the sauce?
Joke said…
He did not hate them, which is progress.

My float said…
Yum. It looks so good you've made me hungry, despite a big bowl of soup for lunch.

How do you get your kids to eat vegetables?

And put me down for a dvd.
Joke said…

1- Thanks!

2- An expedient combination of bribery and coercion.

3- PAL or NTSC?

Sarah O. said…
Yum. Gotta go now and pick me up one of them steamer baskets.

I may never get around to making the beautiful frites but I will have a most impressive collection of kitchen gadgets.
Joke said…
The cool thing about the steamer basket thingies (and you can get the cheapie bamboo ones) is that they stack and stack and stack.

I'm also going to test out microwaving the frites prior to oven frying them.

I'm all about the research.


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