My Day So Far: Rainy morning slogging up Broadway to the library and back. I hate navigating New York City in the rain, especially pushing a stroller.
Naptime Goals: Prep potatoes and sauce for dinner, make 3 phone calls, write last of daughter's pre-school applications.
Tonight's Meal: Steak Frites: Steak with Oven Baked Parmesan Fries.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: It's true what they say about kids and ketchup - they love it!
Sunday was a dreary, rainy day and my husband and I were in the mood for a cozy dinner. In the spirit of making something hearty and satisfying on a January evening, I turned to an old favorite, Steak Frites. Eating this simple meat and potatoes meal feels like we are enjoying pub food in the comfort of our own home. It is just the thing to sustain us through a long winter's night. Plus, since my husband likes to help me cook on the weekends, he was more than happy to lend a hand in the kitchen.
We've gotten steak down to a science in our house. Being city dwellers we don't have a grill, so we use a stove top pan to sear the meat. Then, we slice it, finish it off with a touch of gorgonzola sauce and dinner is served. It is all very well and good, cooking the meat, but I'll be completely honest, my favorite part about this meal are the french fries.
I, for one, draw the line when it comes to deep frying at home. I have zero willpower when it comes to french fries and if I started making recipe's like Jaden's delicious version, I'm afraid I would loose all self-control, make them nightly and cause my dress size to increase exponentially. Instead, I bake my french fries. I parboil the potatoes, toss them with a little olive oil and salt, and put them in the hot oven. With this technique the edges crisp and caramelize, giving them a beautiful golden crust with a soft, piping hot center and "just fried" crunch. Toward the end of the baking I sprinkle them with a hefty dose of grated parmesan cheese - though, I should note, I've used pecorino in a pinch and it is excellent - and leave them in the oven for a five more minutes. This final touch is key, the cheese slowly melts over the potatoes, giving them a delicious saltiness with a mild nutty parmesan flavor.
Our pub-like dinner is a snap to prepare. To save myself time I cut the potatoes and prepare the cheese sauce during my daughter's afternoon naptime. This way I can start the fry-making process at the boiling step come evening. When we made this on Sunday my husband handled the steak on the stove-top grill pan while I manned the french fry station and pulled out the gorgonzola sauce I'd prepared during the day. Once the fries were in the oven I was able to leave him in the kitchen while my daughter and I played with her newest stash of molding clay. After that I pretty much neglected the fries in the oven, only getting up to turn them once, then once more to sprinkle on the parmesan. When the steak was done, we were able to plate dinner quickly and easily. While my daughter avoided the steak, she dove right in to the potatoes with a blob of ketchup (or "dip-dip") as she likes to say, on the side of her plate. She was all about the pub atmosphere on a dreary winter night, and so were we.
Simple Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce
14 oz. Sirloin Strip Steak (or whatever cut you prefer), 1 1/2" thick
4 T. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Pepper
For the Sauce:
2 T. Gorgonzola, crumbled
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
1 T. heavy cream
1. Sprinkle both sides of the steak liberally with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Place stovetop grill pan over high heat. Sear steaks 5 minutes per side, then repeat steps to achieve criss-cross grill marks. *This will cook the steak to medium done. If you'd like your steak more well done, or more rare, adjust cooking time accordingly.* Remove steak from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice, drizzle with Gorgonzola Sauce (directions below) and serve.
2. For the sauce: combine Gorgonzola, mayonnaise, sour cream and heavy cream in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork until completely combined. If the mixture is too thin add a little more cream by the teaspoonful until you reach desired consistency.
Oven Baked Parmesan French Fries
1/3 c. olive oil
2 T. Kosher Salt
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Scrub potatoes and rinse well.
2. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/2" wide strips. Then, rotate the potato and cut again into 1/2" strips lengthwise, separate the strips.
3. Fill a pot with water and add the potato strips. Bring water to a boil and cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until a fork passes easily through the potatoes. Drain the potatoes well and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the strips in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt.
4. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place strips on them. Drizzle with a touch more olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, turning at least once while the fries bake. They will brown and crisp up. At the end of the baking, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the potatoes and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the cheese toasts and slightly melts. Serve hot.
Naptime Recipe Ideas and Variations: Parmesan cheese tastes great, but I've used Pecorino and even grated Asiago. Give the different cheeses a try to see what combination you'd like best. Also, feel free to take the spices up a notch - peppers, paprika or even italian herbs would taste fantastic.
Naptime Stopwatch: The steak takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and the fries take about 20 minutes to prepare, plus baking time.
Naptime Reviews: My daughter isn't yet converted to steak, but she loves the fries. I am happy to serve them to her, the absence of frying makes them healthier then anything we find in the grocery store or at a restaurant.