Friday, July 29, 2011

Pan-Fried Steak with Salad of Potatoes and Asparagus

I love watching French cooking shows. Not only do they help me improve my French, but they keep me up to date with the food scene in my beloved France. Of course, they also provide me with a wealth of cooking inspiration. That's why I always keep my pen and notepad ready!
Last week I came across a recipe that immediately caught my attention- veal liver in a reduced wine sauce served with a lovely salad of potatoes and baby asparagus. Now, let me tell you. The dish itself looked extremely appetizing, but the liver...
You see, I've only recently come to appreciate all things with liver. That aversion came from those slightly traumatizing Saturday morning breakfasts with fried liver and scrambled eggs- my mom's desperate attempt to help her slightly anemic daughter. I won't go into her beet milkshakes because I'd rather not scare you too much, but oh that liver! Luckily, I'm healed (both from the anemia and the liver aversion) and I can now happily eat products made with liver, like French paté which has become a standard weekend treat at our house. For some reason though, I still have issues with cooking a fresh piece of liver, not in a paté, but by itself. 
The fact that this particular recipe called for liver didn't stop me from fiddling around with it of course. As I said, these cooking shows serve as a source of inspiration. Most of the time I'll just take a recipe and rework it to something I know my family and I will enjoy. And because on Friday evenings Hans and I love a good steak, I decided to make something similar, with steak and without the liver.
This isn't a recipe to try if you're pressed for time or already starving. Not that it takes a lot of effort to make either, but it's better to leave it for an occasion when you want to spoil yourself and someone you love. Remember to make cooking a labor of love- light some candles, play some nice music and pour yourself a glass of good wine while you cook. Oh, and don't forget to let your steak come to room temperature before it hits that pan. Also very important.
Bon Appétit!
Pan-Fried Steak with Salad of Potatoes and Asparagus
Serves 2

First start by being very frivolous and making your prosciutto ham chip! Simply preheat the oven to 200C and place two pieces of prosciutto (a little smaller than the palm of your hand) between two pieces of baking paper and between two baking sheets. Or just place the prosciutto on a baking sheet (on the baking paper), place the other piece of baking paper on top of the prosciutto and weigh down with a small baking tray. This ensures that the prosciutto will not curl. Bake for about 8 minutes and set aside.

For the potato and asparagus salad:
1 tbsp mild olive oil
100g baby asparagus
300-400g potatoes, cut in medium-sized chunks
2 tbsps good mayonnaise
1/2 tsp grainy mustard
1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
finely minced chives and parsley
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

First heat up your grill pan, add the oil and grill your asparagus for about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss them as they cook. Once done, cut them in half. In the meantime, bring your potatoes to the boil and cook them until tender but not soft. Drain well, allow to briefly cool and add the asparagus. Make a dressing by combining the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, chives, parsely, salt and pepper. Add this to the potatoes and asparagus and stir to combine.

Now on to the steak...
2 steaks (150-200g per steak)
25g butter
1 tbsp mild olive oil
1 shallot, minced
50ml red wine
2 tbsps armagnac
1 tbsp balsamic syrup
2 tsps truffle mustard
sea salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste 

Make sure your steaks are at room temperature. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and give your steaks about 2-4 minutes per side, depending on their thickness and your own preference, and seasoning each side with salt and pepper as you turn them. Set the steaks aside and immediately add the shallot, wine, armagnac, balsamic syrup, truffle mustard and a touch of salt and pepper to your pan. Stir on a low-medium heat until the sauce reduces and becomes gloriously thick and dark (about 3-5 minutes). 

To assemble the dish, serve the potato salad with the steak, pour the pan juices over the steak and tuck the prosciutto chip between the steak and the potato salad. Serve with a fabulous Bordeaux, perhaps a Saint-Émilion. 

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