Steak-frites, meaning “steak [and] fries” in French, is a very popular dish served in street side brasseries and bistros throughout world.
For many Belgium’s it is considered their national dish, however it may be argued by the French who really invented it.
More expensive cuts of beef steak such as porterhouse, sirloin, rib eye, or filet mignon are the preferred cuts used to prepare this dish. With the steak being well seasoned, and grilled in a heavy skillet, cooked as per the customers liking.
Often served with tangy tarragon flecked béarnaise sauce and salty hand cut shoestring fries, seasonal greens and crusty white bread. And when in Belgium it would be considered rude not to enjoy this dish with a pint or three of local beer.
Steak-frites RecipeCourse: MainCuisine: BelgianDifficulty: Easy
For the best taste, real Belgian frites must be fried in beef tallow. Besides the flavor, this also has the advantage that the smoke point of beef tallow (255C/490F) is higher than of most vegetable oils used for deep frying, creating crisper golden frites. I was told that some of the best frites outlets in Belgium used to (and some still do) cook their potatoes in horse fat, which adds to the taste of the frites.
6 – 8 large potatoes, either Russet or Yukon Golds
2 kg beef fat tallow
Ice Cold Water
Sea salt flakes
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Béarnaise sauce
40ml of white wine vinegar
10ml of lemon juice
20g of tarragon, chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
3 egg yolks
200g of butter, clarified
- Beef Steaks
Four 350g thick beef rib eye steaks
30g Black peppercorns
30g Course Sea Salt
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup high-quality Cognac
Directions – FRITES
- Peel potatoes, Cut the potatoes into sticks or wedges. Keep in mind that the thicker they are, the longer they will take to fry.
- Place the potato sticks in a bowl and cover with ice cold water. Allow the potatoes to soak for about an hour.
- Remove the potatoes from the water and pat them dry with a paper towels work as well.
- Fill a stockpot with cold water and 2 tablespoon of sea salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Remove the potatoes from the cold water with a slotted spoon and cook in the boiling water until fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Lift the potatoes from the water and spread out on a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Pat the potatoes dry, replace the original layer of paper towels with dry paper towels, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Once you are ready to fry, place the beef tallow in a deep stockpot and heat it to approximately 275 degrees.
- Working in batches, carefully fry the chilled potatoes for 3 to 5 minutes before lifting them from the hot oil with a slotted metal spoon and spreading on the baking sheet (no paper towels this time!).
- Let the oil regain its heat between batches.
- Chill the potatoes again for 30 minutes.
- While the potatoes chill, raise the heat under the fat and heat the fat to 375°F.
- Fry the chilled potatoes again until golden brown and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes, working in batches and letting the fat regain its heat between each one.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the fries to a shallow bowl. Add the parsley and toss to mix. Season with salt and serve warm.
- Directions – Béarnaise sauce
- Make a reduction by boiling the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, half the tarragon and the shallots until reduced by half. Strain and allow to cool
- Mix together the egg yolks and reduction then whisk in a glass bowl over a bain-marie until the mixture is thick and able to coat the back of a spoon
- Remove from the heat and slowly start to drizzle in the butter whisking all the time until all the butter is incorporated
- Add the remaining tarragon and season with salt and pepper
- Directions – Beef Steaks
- Crush the peppercorns and sea salt using a pestle and mortar, and roll the fillets in the crushed salt and pepper to coat them.
- Place the butter in a pan over high heat, and when it begins to foam, sear the fillets on each side for one minute each side.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and continue cooking, turning the steaks every other minute, until you see little pearls of blood come to the surface, about 3 to 4 minutes. The steaks should be cooked rare to medium for juicy, tender meat.
- Remove the steaks and place them on warmed plates. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with Deglaze with the Cognac, and flambé the contents of the pan.
- Next swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cook until the butter is melted and combined with the cognac.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon of these pan juices over each steak. And serve.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of hot béarnaise sauce over the steak and serve with hot frites and a fresh green salad.