A juicy steak is one of life’s greatest pleasures (unless you’re vegan – and there’s nothing wrong with being vegan). But it’s also a bugger to get right. My mother (bless her) always turned them into leather straps or stewed them to bland tastelessness, so I’m always looking for the perfect steak recipe: and one that honours the meat.
So my challenge is to explore all of the steak recipes in Vincent and Mary Price’s acclaimed tome, A Treasury of Great Recipes. There are 10, but I won’t be trying the three Tartar ones as they are far to rare for me. This recipe comes from the Belle Terrasse in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens (alas now closed).
Steak Moutarde Flambé
‘We are inclined to think that nowhere else in the world is there beef the equal of ours. But in Denmark the beef raised on their rich farm and grazing lands is superlative, their dairy products without peer. In this recipe, rich Danish beef is prepared with a mustard sauce that utilizes the thick, heavy cream-both sweet and sour-for which the country is famous. By flaming the beef with cognac, all of the juices and flavorings are sealed into the meat, and all the wonderful brownings in the pan are loosened to become part of the sauce. At Belle Terrasse these steaks were served with French fried potatoes and a cool, crisp salad. An unbeatable combination.’ VINCENT PRICE
1) In skillet heat: 1 tablespoon butter, saute over high heat: 4 fillets of beef, 1/2 inches thick, for 4 minutes. Turn and sprinkle with: salt, coarsely sage ground pepper, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon crumbled sage leaves. Cook to desired degree of doneness (4 to 5 minutes per side for rare).
2) Pour off excess fat from pan and cream sprinkle fillets with: 1/4 cup cognac. Ignite the cognac and when the flame burns out, transfer fillets to a warm serving platter and keep warm.
3) To skillet add: 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 4 teaspoons mild brown or
herb-flavored mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon rose paprika. Combine: 2 tablespoons commercial sour cream and 1/2 cup cream and stir into mustard in skillet. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the fillets and serve.
Simply delicious: and I think it’s the herbs that really lifts the dish; plus I love mustard so the sauce is a winner. I’ve also tried using just the sour cream, and replaced the cognac with the less expensive French Brandy, and works a treat. Oh, I just love the kitchen theatre ingniting the spirit. But watch out you don’t singe anything. There’s also that sense of satisfaction that you have just knocked up a restaurant-quality dish at a fraction of the price – but don’t scrimp on the beef. Get it organic and use the best cut: fillet.