Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Parlez-Vous Béarnaise?

My husband is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, so I thought it was extra sweet of him to take me out to eat sushi last night for my birthday. After a sub-par meal with sub-sub-par service, I kind of feel like I owe him one (Actually, is there really such thing as sub-par sushi? I'm sorry, but if it's not good, it's bad!).

Plus, I still want to celebrate. I think one birthday a year is not enough, and I also accepted a job offer today (Don't worry, I'll still update my blog. Writing about food is my "fun" job.) so I think a big, fat steak is in order. I'm going to surprise my husband - um, unless he's reading this (surprise!) - with a yummy Paris bistro-style meal tonight. And I just realized I haven't used my instant-read thermometer once since I moved to New York, so it's about time for some beef.

Recipe for New York Strip with Béarnaise Sauce and Quacked-out Pommes Frites:

You need:
  • Some good strip steaks
  • Good salt and cracked pepper
  • Garlic (one or two cloves)
  • Russet potatoes
  • Duck fat

For a traditional béarnaise sauce:

  • Clarified butter (but I just use regular unsalted butter)
  • Eggs (yolk only)
  • Vinegar
  • White wine
  • Shallots
  • Tarragon

Heat oven to 425. Cut the potatoes into strips and spread out on a roasting pan. Brush with the duck fat, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until golden.

In a skillet over a medium-high flame, heat a small amount of olive oil, and rub a crushed garlic clove or two around the bottom of the pan. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and sear the steaks on each side and cook until you reach your desired temperature with an instant-read thermometer. For beef, rare is 120-130 degrees, medium-rare is 130-140, medium is 140-150, and if you want it cooked more than that, you should not be eating expensive New York strip steaks.

Béarnaise is an emulsified sauce closely related to hollandaise. To make béarnaise, first make a reduction with equal parts vinegar and wine, fresh tarragon, minced shallot and a little salt and pepper. Reduce until nearly all of the liquid is absorbed. Set aside. Whisk the yolks in a stainless steel bowl set over, but not in, simmering water (or use a double boiler) until creamy and pale, and then whisk in butter one tbsp at a time. Finally, whisk in the tarragon-vinegar reduction. Try different variations based on what you have. Tonight, I have dry white wine in the fridge, and red wine vinegar on hand, so I'll try those. Sometimes I have white wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar.

Now all I need is a view of the Eiffel tower and a sexy French accent.

1 comment:

Nina said...

can i be your husband?