Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Steak Diane


















     Classic Steak Diane!
     What is a classic Steak Diane?  The answer can be confusing when looking at modern restaurant menus, because it seems like the definition of Steak Diane is now open to a chef's personal interpretation.  I have seen everything from a Filet Mignon topped with Demi Glace to a Ribeye Steak topped with a Mushroom Crème served as Steak Diane during the last decade.  Most Steak Diane entrées that are served in modern restaurants are not really Steak Diane at all.       
     "Will the real Steak Diane please stand up!"  Classic Steak Diane actually is a very simple recipe, but showmanship is involved.  A chef or maitre d‘ traditionally prepares Steak Diane in a dining room sauté station or by the table side.  Steak Diane is as much of an entertaining show to watch, as it is a great tasting entrée.
     The word "Diane" refers to the ancient goddess of the hunt.  This does not mean that Steak Diane is meant to be an entrée that is strictly for the ladies.  Only the portion size determines whether it is a lady's or man's entrée.  Two petite steaks for a lady or three petite steaks for a man is the standard rule.  The steaks are flambéed in a way that will certainly please the Hunter Goddess Diana.
     A NY Strip Steak (Club Steak) is the correct choice for Steak Diane.  Two or three thin petite steaks are cut, then they are flattened with a meat mallet.  The petite steaks are seasoned ahead of time, so the flavor penetrates the meat.      
    For table side and open kitchen Steak Diane, a unique straight tine carving fork technique is required.  The fork is used to pick up the flattened steak and dredge the steak in flour.  The fork is twisted till he steak is rolled around the fork tines.  Then the fork is twisted to unravel and the steak in the sauté pan.  A few of the photos above demonstrate this technique.  
     The correct liquor choice is brandy or cognac.  The cognac flambé is dramatic and the lights should be dimmed, so the flames can be seen by the guests.  A vigorous flambé is required for Steak Diane, because the flames singe the edges of the steak to create more flavor.  A generous amount of brandy or cognac is used, because this liquor is the key flavor of the simple reduction sauce.
     What else flavors the sauce for a classic Steak Diane?  Rich clarified beef stock is part of the reduction sauce, which combines with the flour coating on the steaks to create a classic demi glace in the pan.  Minced green onion and Worcestershire Sauce enhance the cognac and beef stock reduction.  The white section of a green onion is best for this recipe.  Only a tiny amount of Worcestershire Sauce is needed to add depth to the cognac flavor. 
     The original potato garnish for Steak Diane is Pont Neuf Pomme Frittes (French Fries), but nearly any kind of potato offering can garnish the plate.  Mushrooms are also a classic garnish and vegetables are usually served on the side.  When served with French Fries, a small mound of French Fries should be placed directly on top of the steaks.  
     This classic recipe is appropriately named, especially when considering the combination of the ingredients and dramatic special effects.  Meat and potatoes is a classic combination for hunters.  Green onion adds flavor and aroma that hunters are familiar with when stalking prey in open fields.  The sound of a high temperature sauté sizzle and flames adds a dramatic effect.  The aroma of cognac and the flavor of the fire singed meat satisfies guests like nothing else can.  This classic entrée most definitely is meant to honor the Goddess Of The Hunt, Diane!  

     Steak Diane Preparation:
     This recipe yields enough for 1 portion.  (2 petite strip steaks for ladies or 3 petite strip steaks for men.)
     Prepare these ingredients ahead of time, because the sauté cooking progresses rapidly once the cooking starts.  
     Step 1:  Cut 2 or 3 thin boneless trimmed sirloin strip steaks that weigh 4 to 5 ounces apiece.
     Use a meat mallet to ound the steaks thin and flat.
     Lightly season the steaks with sea salt and white pepper.
     Chill the steaks till they are needed.    
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of unseasoned flour in a shallow pan and set it aside.
     Step 3:  Measure these ingredients and keep them separated in small containers:
     • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. 
     • 1 tablespoon of finely minced white part of green onion.
     • 5 ounces of cognac or brandy.
     • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce. 
     • 1 cup of clarified rich beef stock or beef consommé.
     • 1 teaspoon of minced Italian Parsley. 

     Steak Diane:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     The steaks are pounded so thin, that it is not advisable to cook the steaks to a customer’s temperature request!  Steak Diane traditionally is always fully cooked.
     *Keep some fire extinguishing material handy before the flambé starts.  Flambé in an area where there is nothing above that can catch fire.  Turn on the fans, so there is adequate ventilation and so the fire alarms do not go off.  Dim the lights, so the blue alcohol flames can be seen.  
     Step 1:  Lightly dredge the seasoned steaks in flour.
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add the unsalted butter.
     Cook the butter till it turns a golden color.
     Step 3:  Place the steaks side by side in the pan.
     Quickly sauté the steaks on both sides till brown highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Pour the excess butter out of the pan into a container.
     Step 5:  Return the pan to the medium heat.
     Add the green onion to the pan.
     Briefly sauté till the onion turns clear in color.
     Step 6:  Add the cognac.
     Flambé!
     Step 7:  After the flames die down, add the rich clarified beef stock.
     Add the Worcestershire Sauce.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the sauce a thin consistency that can cling to the steaks.  Flip the steaks once while the sauce simmers.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the steaks side by side on a large plate.
     Spoon the sauce over the steaks.
     Sprinkle the minced Italian Parsley over the steaks.
     Step 9:  Garnish the steaks with a petite portion of French Fries (classic presentation) or garnish the plate with a potato of your choice.
     Garnish the plate with a sautéed fluted mushroom cap and an Italian Parsley sprig.
     Serve with a vegetable of your choice on the side.       

     Viola!  Classic Steak Diane!  This is a great Valentines Day recipe!

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