bringing the bistro home – steak frites for valentine’s day


I have finally come to the realization that I am a crotchety old man {or possibly just an agoraphobic}.  I find it extremely difficult to motivate to do anything that involves waiting in lines or dealing with large crowds.  I would much rather stay inside the comfort of my own home to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July and the Superbowl.  And certainly Valentine’s Day.  I love eating out on almost every other night of the year, but the thought of going out to dinner, dealing with horrific wait times, prix fixe menus and sub par service sounds positively revolting.  So, this Valentine’s Day {like others before it} will undoubtedly be spent in.  But that doesn’t mean that it will lack anything in the way of ambiance and romance.  Drawing upon the classic, understated romance of a quintessential Parisian bistro, I decided to make my own version of steak frites.

I used to be quite intimidated by making steaks – I thought that grilling them was the only option.  I recently discovered pan roasting, and it has undoubtedly become my favorite way to enjoy steak.  It takes, all in, less than 20 minutes {including resting time} and produces consistent, deliciously juicy results.  I served the steak with my take on a marchand de vin sauce – I saute shallots in butter in the same pan I use to cook the steaks, add port and beef stock and reduce until the sauce becomes thick and syrupy.  And to make the frites just slightly more special, I sprinkle them with truffle salt as soon as they come out of the oil – ridiculous.  All you need to do is light some candles, turn on some Carla Bruni, pour a nice bottle of red, and you would swear that you were in a bistro on the Île Saint-Louis.

Also, tomorrow I will post the perfect end to this Parisian inspired Valentine’s Day menu – chocolate mousse.

Recipes continued after the jump…





Note: to make this entire menu, follow these steps:

1.  Prepare the herb butter and leave in the refrigerator to chill.

2.  Peel, cut and soak the potatoes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 400°F and then sear the steaks.

4.  Put the steaks in the oven, then start heating the oil for the fries.

5.  Once the steak is done roasting, remove from the oven, and reduce heat to 350°F.

6.  Drain, dry and fry the fries in batches.

7.  While frying the fries, make the sauce.

Herb Butter

  • 1/4 c. {half a stick} unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Italian {flat leaf} parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped

Mix butter, parsley and chives using a KitchenAid mixer or hand held mixer until well combined.  Using a spatula, spread into a small piece of parchment paper and roll up into a log, pressing the butter together tightly.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pan Roasted Steaks with Port Shallot Reduction

  • Olive oil
  • 2 filet mignon steaks
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1/4 c. good quality port
  • 1/4 c. beef stock

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pour a small amount of olive oil {about 1/2 teaspoon} into an iron skillet or other heavy skillet, and swirl to coat evenly.  Place skillet over high heat.  Generously season both sides of steak with kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  When pan is hot, nearly smoking, add steaks and let sear.  After about 1 minute, flip steak and sear the other side.   When evenly seared, flip steaks over again, and then, using a hot pad, place skillet with steaks in them in oven.  Cook for between 5 to 15 minutes, depending on desired amount of doneness {we like ours medium rare, but they were pretty thick steaks, so I left them in the oven for 7 minutes}.  Carefully, using a hot pad, remove skillet from the oven.  Remove steaks to a plate and cover tightly with foil.

Place same skillet over medium heat and add butter.  Once butter has melted, add shallots and saute for about 5 minutes, or until shallots are translucent.  Add port and beef stock, increase heat to high and cook until reduced by half {about 10 to 15 minutes}.

To serve, place a steak on each plate, top with a slice of herb butter and serve with port sauce.

Truffle Matchstick Fries

  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • Truffle salt {or sea salt}
  • Italian parsley, chopped {if desired}

Peel potatoes.  Cut each potato into 1/8 inch matchsticks {I cut each potato in half width-wise, sliced each half into 1/8 inch slices, and then sliced each slice into 1/8 inch matchsticks}.  Place cut potatoes into a bowl filled with cold water.  Drain potatoes and dry thoroughly using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Place oil in a medium saucepan.  Add enough oil so that the oil is at least 1 1/2 inches deep, but so that the pan is not more than halfway full.  I tend to use smaller saucepans so that I don’t have to use as much oil, but this requires frying in multiple batches.  Heat oil to 350°F.  In batches, using a spider or slotted spoon, lower potato matchsticks into hot oil.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until desired level of doneness.  Remove from oil using a spider or slotted spoon and immediately place into a bowl.  Sprinkle salt and parsley over fries and toss to coat evenly.  Place fries on a baking sheet and place baking sheet in oven to keep warm.  Repeat steps with remaining fries.







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21 Responses to bringing the bistro home – steak frites for valentine’s day

  1. auburnskull says:

    looks soooo good 😀

  2. Darya says:

    I had better not show this post to my boyfriend, or he might get converted to “celebrating Saint Valentine’s”; he could eat red meat and fries every single day. This looks delicious, and is making me really hungry; the lentil dish I was going to make tonight suddenly sounds boring and dull! 🙂

  3. Beautifully done, one of my favorite meals followed by chocolate pot de creme. It has to be tricky to get everything done so that it’s hot and cooked properly, I have never been very good at that, timing is so important and you have it down pat. A beautiful meal perfectly executed!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you! It can be a little tricky to get everything on the table at the same time, and still warm. I tend to not be that organized when I cook, but am trying to be better! 🙂 xo

  4. Yum, Lindsay, I want to come over to your house, lol! I love the addition of truffle salt to the frites — I can just taste them now. And the steak … delectable! Thanks so much for sharing, and can’t wait to hear what you cook up next =)

  5. Vanessa says:

    Steak Frites definitely makes me think of you and Lauren. Once again, so beautifully done.

  6. shellakers says:

    I’m the same way about going out on holidays… you’re not alone.

    Ummm Ummm Looks delicious! Beautiful presentation!

  7. ciao! just the best…a great valentine day to you.

  8. petit4chocolatier says:

    Why go out? This is positively a beautiful meal! Everything looks delicious!

  9. Oh my – swooning over the white tulips in the ginger jar. Beautiful – all of it! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  10. looks just lovely…i will have to make your herb butter, sounds just delish with steak…lovely post..sarah

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you Victoria! And thanks for much for stopping by – hope you’re having a lovely Valentine’s Day! I thoroughly enjoyed your post about the history behind the holiday. 🙂

  11. Oh mon Dieu. I recently discovered your lovely blog and this steak frites has made me a fan for life. Good steak frites is really one of life’s greatest pleasures and this recipe looks and sounds exactly like what you would get at a French bistro.

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