Monday, February 8, 2010

Massacring the Art of French Cooking: Bifteck Saute au Beurre

That’s French for “steak you cook in a pan, with butter,” which, according to Julia, is very French. (I’m thinking it’s very everywhere, since it’s, you know, STEAK, but maybe that’s just me. (All right, all right, so it’s probably not very Indian, since it’s, you know, cow, but definitely everywhere else. (And on the topic of India, have you ever seen a Bollywood flick? Because that is one experience nobody should miss.))) And since we had a few leftover steaks from a super-duper sale, we decided to give it a try.

We ran into trouble almost immediately. Julia calls for the steaks to be three-quarters of an inch to a full inch thick; ours, despite being labeled “petite cut,” were closer to twice that. Also, while Julia insists the perfect steak is medium rare--and so only gives that cook time--Honey Bear and I prefer ours medium to medium well. Which meant we had to take a guess at how long to grill the first side, and decided on ten minutes.

Still, we set the timer for eight, as if we wouldn’t remember to check them, then proceeded to stare at the bubbling butter-and-oil concoction in the bottom of the pan for the next seven minutes and fifty-nine seconds. The timer’s cheery beep-beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep-beep roused us from our vigil, and for some unearthly reason (I think it had something to do with the meat not looking much different from the top, but the details are sort of fuzzy now), we barely glanced at their bottoms before deciding they needed those last two minutes.

We chickened out after only fifty seconds, though, and attacked them with our tongs. And a good thing we did, too: When we finally flipped our non-petite-cut, hopefully-medium-to-medium-well steaks, they looked more like the remains from a Chernobyl butcher shop--huge, charred, and quite possibly radioactive--than anything we were supposed to eat.

I looked at Honey Bear. He looked at me. I said, “At least they’ll make a good blog post.” He looked back at the steaks and mumbled, “Yeah, but I wanted them to make a good dinner.”

We finished them off as best we could. After giving them a few more minutes on their other sides, Honey Bear took them off to rest while I deglazed the pan (my first pan-deglazing, by the way). And then we sat down to eat our Soviet-inspired bifteck sauté au beurre with deglazed pan juices.

And you know what? They weren’t that bad. Sure, the crust was kind of thick and, well, burnt, but it actually tasted kind of good. (Butter and olive oil covereth a multitude of culinary sins.) And even though our steaks weren’t exactly medium, or medium well, they did retain (most of) their juices and were moist enough to chew through. So on the whole, I’m calling this one a success--right up there with the Soviet nuclear power program:)


Myrna Foster said...

I've never cooked steaks in butter before. I tried a new recipe for chicken alfredo pizza tonight though--a recipe one of my sisters made up. It was yummy. Her alfredo sauce had a whole stick of butter in it, so the butter thing reminded me of it. I like reading about your cooking adventures. :)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I just overcooked steaks the other night, too! Thanks for finding my blog and it's fun to discover yours. I think I've seen your name on a few witty comments on blogs I follow. We must haunt the parts of the internet. Yes, my oldest daughter is adopted from China. :) Excited to get to know you. And I'll let you know my REAL name. The initial "A" stands for Amy. But don't tell anyone. ;)

Krista V. (the former Krista G.) said...

Nice to meet you, Amy:) And yeah, we definitely haunt the same parts of the internet. I've been lurking around your blog for a few weeks, and it's great.