Steak Frites

Steak Frites

So I’m pretty good at planning what I’m going to make for you, even if I’m not so good at the making it more than 2 days ahead of what you see here.  Today, we have this: steak frites.    You know what did not make the cut on the list of 15+ things to “make soon”?  Steak frites.  What happened was that I went to the grocery starving on Wednesday after work and saw that steak was on sale, thought, “ooh steak!”, got home and went “hmm…steak. Steak…” and now we have steak frites. It’s okay because in the whole scheme of food impulse buys, it could be worse.

Like the piece of cake that I also impulse bought and was sub-par.  I don’t win them all.


You can tell that I don’t make steak much. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I made steak. That’s probably due to the fact that IMO, steak, to be done right, must be cooked on a grill, and enjoyed outside on a patio somewhere, served alongside a baked potato and a fresh salad.  That’s my “I grew up in Florida and that’s how we eat steak” snobbery. And while I do have a grill, let’s be real, I won’t be using it anytime soon.  But now I had this steak, and therefore concessions would have to be made.

Then I remembered steak frites, a dish that can be found in any French or Belgian bistro- the kind of place tucked into a corner on a somewhat lit street- and taste perfect every single time, and I figured that was the answer to my impulsivity.  I mean I love fries and never need an excuse to make them.


Let’s talk about this.

Seasonings: Steak is typically seasoned with little more than salt and pepper. I took it one step further and finally finally used the shallot salt that I’ve been harboring for years (not really that long).  Don’t have that?  Use regular salt and coarse black pepper. 


I thought about doing a nice au poivre sauce to be fancy, but I just wasn’t feeling fancy today. Still, I felt a sauce was needed so I made a quick shallot cognac sauce to get all the nice crispy bits off the pan.

I’ve never been confident about cooking steak in a pan or on my own because I tend to forget it and over cook it.  Not this time, thanks to the method I found here at Epicurious.  Seven minutes and you’re done. 

I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for oven fries because I’m not sure Deb does any wrong.  She certainly didn’t with these fries.


And finally, mayo with the fries, because we’re pretending we’re in Belgium and that’s what they do there (and also, maybe you’re still not off the whole fries-with-mayo thing that you started in Iceland 5 months ago…).


Steak Frites
Serves 4
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. For the steak
  2. 2 steaks, such as porterhouse, sirloin, rib eye or filet mignon (1/2 pound each and 1 inch thick) (I used sirloin)
  3. 2 tsp coarse salt
  4. 2 tsp coarse pepper
  5. 2 TB unsalted butter
  6. 1 shallot, minced
  7. Splash cognac (about 2 TB)
  8. 1/2 lemon, juiced
For the fries
  1. 2 medium sized Russet potatoes (the specific size isn’t terribly important, method is the same)
  2. 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  3. coarse sea salt
  4. black pepper
Make the fries
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes (I prefer them not peeled). Cut potatoes into just-shy-of 1/2-inch batons. Place in a large pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Set heat to high and set timer for 10 minutes. They should not boil- if it does, reduce the heat a bit. Cook the potatoes to “al dente” — one that is too firm to eat enjoyable, but has no crunch left.
  3. Meanwhile, coat a large baking sheet with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and place it in the oven for a few minutes, so the oil gets very hot and rolls easily around the pan.
  4. Drain your potatoes and immediately spread them on oiled baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with last tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes, until golden, giving them a good shake about 10 minutes in. Repeat every 10 minutes until you get to about 30 minutes total.
  5. Season with more salt while they’re hot.
  6. While the fries are doing their thing, make the steak. Season each side with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking, turning the steaks every other minute, until you see little pearls of blood come to the surface, about 6 to 8 minutes. The steaks should be cooked rare to medium for juicy, tender meat.
  7. Remove the steaks set aside to rest, about 10 minutes. Over medium heat, back to the pan add the shallots and let them get soft, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the splash of cognac and lemon juice and let thicken about 2 minutes. Drizzle these pan juices over the meat and serve at once with fries.
Adapted from Epicurious, Smitten Kitchen
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

Written with a stuffy nose and sore throat. Someone come take care of me? You will be fed as payment.

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4 thoughts on “Steak Frites”

  • best.impulse.purchase!
    I have never made steak at home because I too agree it needs to made on a grill; and it’s a treat meal, a fancy dinner. I much prefer to have it a few times a year when a professional makes it for me. I’m really sad the cake wasn’t as good. But ahhh, oven fries! So easy and so good. I make mine the same way.

  • Yum! Everything looks delicious! How can you not love steak frites! Beautiful photos and certainly inspiring me to make this for dinner tonight. 🙂

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