Last Saturday I cooked a belated Valentine’s day dinner and I decided to turn to Julia Child for recipes. I’ve only cooked steak a handful of times and I’m always worried that it will either be overcooked or too rare. I am happy to say that with Julia’s help, I got it right this time 🙂 I like how she starts her different sections with general wisdom, then has a basic recipe followed by variations, this time a few different sauces to accompany the steak. While, I mostly browse for recipes online, cookbooks are a valuable resource and Julia Child keeps surprising me with helpful tips. Her cookbook feels like a conversation with the cook and I sometimes even find myself talking back to her…hopefully, I am not going crazy 🙂
I picked the gratin dauphinois because I had all the ingredients at hand, was easy to make and surprisingly, unlike other JC dishes, it didn’t require too many different pots 🙂
Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 1 1/2 Tbsps butter + 1 1/2 Tbsps vegetable oil
- 2 pieces of 1 inch thick steaks (~ 2lbs, I used NY strip steak)
- salt and peper
- for the sauce: 1 Tb butter, 1 shallot, 1/2 cup red wine (I used a New Zealand Pinot Noir), more butter (I used 2 Tbsps, Julia asks for 4-6!)
- for the gratin: 2 giant potatoes (~1lb), 1 clove garlic, 2 Tbsps butter, 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese, 1/2 cup boiling milk
Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly as you want them to cook relatively fast. Cut the garlic clove in half and use it to rub the baking dish (I have never seen this before, but it gives the potatoes a subtle garlic taste) and then proceed to butter it. Lay the first half of the potatoes in the baking dish, season them and top with crumbled butter and half the cheese.
Repeat with the second half of potatoes. Pour the boiling milk on top of the potatoes. Julia asks to bring the dish to simmer on the stovetop, but I just placed mine directly into the preheated oven. Bake for ~ 30 min, or until the potatoes are tender. If the steak is not done on time, cover the potatoes with a towel to keep warm. Serve with the steak!
Trim the fat and dry the steaks with a paper towel. Heat the butter-oil mix on medium high heat in a large skillet (I used my Le Creuset pot). Cook steak for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. If in doubt, make a small cut in one of the steaks to check for doneness. Mine turned out so juicy and tender 😉
Remove steak from the pan and season with salt and pepper. Let rest while making the sauce. Add 1 Tbsp butter. Saute the shallots until translucent. Add the wine and boil down scraping the pan, until it thickens.