Next time you want to impress on date night or are cooking dinner for a friend, channel a European brasserie and whip up a surprisingly easy Classic Steak Frites, made with simple ingredients and a few elegant accouterments. The best part about this is that you can customize both the steak and the frites to your own liking.
Because we’re never been to Paree, we checked in with Brittany Ferrin and Vaidotas Karsokas, co-owners and Le Cordon Bleu trained executive chefs of Truffleberry Market (who are also husband and wife). Based out of the Chicago suburbs, the detail-oriented duo own the a restaurant-style catering company located in Chicago, where they pride themselves on bringing the art of presentation and entertaining to life.
We’re totally down with that.
We’re also down with perfectly cooked steak and French fries, which is exactly what you’ll get when you follow these tips from Ferrin and Karsokas.
The size you prefer for your fries is very personal. Some like them larger, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Others like them a little thinner and crispier. You can’t go wrong, just remember that the thinner they are, the shorter frying time they will need and the thicker ones take a little longer.
While there are no crazy skills involved in making these crispy frites, there is a little trick. The secret? The potatoes are fried twice. The first time cooks them through and makes them tender. The second time, which can be done hours later just before serving, turns them golden and crisp.
If you own a small electric deep fryer, that is awesome. If not, use a heavy pot that is at least 8″ deep, a long-handled strainer or large slotted spoon, and a deep-fat thermometer for good measure.
Steak Your Life on It
Sear the steaks, moving them with tongs a little so they don’t stick to the bottom, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Ferrin and Karsokas recommend using a meat thermometer to test for doneness and like to see an internal temperature of 130 degrees F for a nice medium steak.
Once your steak is cooked, it’s time to think about sauces or garnishes. Ferrin and Karsokas always serve steak with a fragrant herb Chimmichurri (and frites with Truffle Aioli).
Elevate Your Presentation
To give your meal a little something extra, serve your frites in small paper bags lined with parchment. Sauces served in small containers are always a nice touch as well, versus splattering them all over the plate.
“Buy mini squeeze bottles for each guest to have their own truffle aioli or ketchup for squeezing on fries,” said Ferrin and Karsokas. “It’s just fun.”
If you want to opt for a chic serving style, think outside the plate and serve your entire meal on a quarter sheet pan. Finally, garnish your steak with greens tossed in fresh lemon juice and olive oil. It’s not only beautiful, but adds a lovely acidity to a fairly rich dish.
If you’re wondering whether to serve red wine, or Champagne? The answer is always “Yes.”
For the Steak
- 2 8-ounce Prime steaks, such as porterhouse, rib eye or filet mignon (at least 1 inch thick)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Frites
- 4-6 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 2 pounds Idaho or russet baking potatoes or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed and dried
- Salt to taste
For the Steaks
- Season the steaks generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Melt three tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat until hot but not smoking (get the pans really hot). Place the steaks on the pan and sear for about two to three minutes. Flip the steak and sear on the other side for two to three minutes longer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another minute or so.
- The best way to know when the steak is ready is by inserting a thermometer. We take ours to about 130 degrees, by the time it carries over, it will be a perfect medium. If you like it cooked a bit more, continue cooking an additional two to four minutes.
- Slice just before serving.
For the Frites
- Pour oil into the pan, leaving room at the top for the potatoes when added. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F. (this temperature is very important)
- Cut the potatoes about ½ inch wide and three inches long. Dry all the pieces thoroughly in a clean dish towel (removing water will keep the oil from splattering). Divide the raw fries into batches of no more than one cup each (do not fry more than one batch at a time to allow for even cooking and ensuring that your oil doesn't go down too far in temperature).
- When the oil has reached 325, fry the potatoes for four to five minutes per batch. They should be lightly colored but not yet golden. If your fryer has a basket, simply lift it out the remove the fried potatoes. Otherwise, use a long-handled strainer to lift the potatoes out of the oil.
- Bring the temperature of the oil back to 325 degrees F in between batches. The fries can rest for several hours at room temperature until you are ready to finish frying them to serve.
- Again, heat the oil to 325 degrees F. Fry the blanched potatoes in one cup batches until they are golden brown and perfectly crisp, about two minutes. Drain on fresh paper towels placed in a large bowl or sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and serve.
- Unless you love sogginess, don't cover the potatoes. If you are so inclined to dip them in truffle aioli, please oblige.