Steak frites with red wine mushroom sauce & beurre de montpellier

by Ray McVinnie | Cuisine issue #142
Serves: 6This is a quick dish to put together if you have everything ready.

Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
The red wine mushroom sauce can be made in advance and reheated
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 shallots, chopped
1 stick celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced 2cm
500g button mushrooms, halved
1 fresh bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
250ml red wine
500ml beef jus (I used Essential Cuisine Classic Beef Jus as I like the flavour)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over moderate heat and add the shallots, celery, carrot, mushrooms, bay leaf, thyme and garlic. Fry gently for about 10 minutes until the shallots are soft and everything is browned. Turn up the heat, add the wine and let it boil for 1 minute. Add the beef jus and boil until the vegetables are soft and the liquid reduced and slightly syrupy. Discard the herbs. Taste and season. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Beurre de Montpellier
It is traditionally an accompaniment for fish such as cold salmon but, like other egg sauces, it works well with steak, especially as it contains anchovies, tarragon and capers – all of which are good with steak.
1 large handful each watercress sprigs (no coarse stalks) and baby spinach leaves
1⁄4 cup each loosely packed tarragon,
flat-leafed parsley and chervil leaves
6 anchovy fillets
1 gherkin, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
3 hard-boiled egg yolks
1 raw egg yolk
100g butter, softened
50ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drop the watercress, spinach and the herbs into a saucepan of boiling water. Let everything wilt for about 30 seconds, remove from the heat, drain well and cool under cold water then squeeze dry.

Place in a food processor with the anchovies, gherkin, capers and hard and raw egg yolks. Blend until smooth then add the butter and blend until smooth again. Slowly add the oil until all is incorporated. Taste and season. Reserve.

“Frites”
An easy way to make great frites for a lot of people all at the same time without having to use a deep-fryer.
1.5kg Agria or your favourite floury potato, peeled and cut into 2cm-thick chips
4 tablespoons olive oil
flaky sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the potatoes on 2 of your biggest baking trays. Add half the oil to each and a good sprinkling of salt, and mix well with your hands.

Spread out the potatoes so they are not packed on top of each other. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden and crisp and not stuck to the tray. If they are stuck, cook them longer until they lift off.

For the steak
I like the delicious beefy flavour of skirt steak, a cut usually thought best used for slow-cooking. However, if fried or barbecued over very high heat for a short time, it is as tender as sirloin.
1kg skirt steak (or your favourite cut of steak), trimmed of fat and sinew
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste with 1⁄2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Place the steak in a bowl. Add the olive oil and garlic, and massage all over the steak.

Heat a frying pan or barbecue until smoking hot. Fry or barbecue the steak for about 3 minutes on each side until well browned but medium rare. Remove from the heat, loosely cover with tinfoil and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Thinly slice the steak across the grain of the meat and serve it with the reheated sauce over it, a dollop of the beurre on top and the frites on the side. Follow it with the bitter salad with peas and fennel (recipe follows).

Wine - A balanced, dark Hawke’s Bay Cabernet Merlot.

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