Published January 1, 2007.
A good rendition of this bistro standard is hard to find in American restaurants. Short of flying to Paris, how could we reliably enjoy this French classic?
Too often, steak frites in American restaurants miss the mark. The fries are usually too soggy and the steak just isn't as flavorful as it should be.
We wanted to re-create the steak frites of our Parisian dreams, with perfectly cooked steak and fries that are fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, even when bathed in juices from the meat.
We first determined that the fries needed to be cooked in two batches, a procedure that minimizes the drop in oil temperature that naturally occurs when potatoes are added by increasing the ration of oil to potatoes. After evaluating several cooking oils, we found we liked the light taste that peanut oil gave the fries. Our real breakthrough, however, occurred when we coated the fries with an extra layer of starch, which added a protective sheath around each fry. Two tablespoons of cornstarch created the optimal flavorless coating. For the steaks, we found that thicker rib-eyes gave us more time to get a nice sear without overcooking the middle. A little herb butter added a final flavor boost to the dish.list of recipes