This dish is all about flambé, fish sauce, and meaty potato pulp.

By Bridget Hallinan
April 01, 2020
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So far on season 10 of Ludo à la Maison, we’ve seen chef Ludo Lefebvre make a burger au poivre, cheesy potato gratin, and banana bread. This week, he’s pivoting to Steak Diane. He uses Dijon mustard and brandy to make a flavorful steak sauce, and serves the dish with a side of homemade pomme frites (the quick way, no fryer required). Along the way, he also provides a few tricks, such as why he uses fish sauce instead of salt on the meat. Check out the rest of Lefebvre’s tips below, and find the accompanying recipe on his website.

First, start with the pommes frites

People say good pommes frites take three days to make, once you factor in the washing, blanching, and cooking. However, Lefebvre’s mom always made them the quick way, so that’s how he likes to prepares them. He also peels the potatoes “mama-style,” using a knife instead of a vegetable peeler, and cuts them into half-inch slices—don’t worry about them being perfect.  

No fryer needed

You don’t need a fryer to make these pomme frites; a deep, heavy-bottom pot and oil will work perfectly well.

Fry ‘em

Heat grapeseed oil in the pot until it reaches  350° Fahrenheit, and then carefully add the potatoes, giving them a stir so they don’t stick together. The key here is to fry them at a low temperature so they have time to cook. If you do too much right away, you’ll get that crispy, golden-brown exterior but the inside won’t be cooked. While Americans like crunchy fries, Lefebvre says he likes “some meaty potato pulp” inside and likes his frites to be almost mushy.

Mix the condiments

For his steak sauce, Lefebvre combines Dijon mustard, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce, and sets it aside.

Prepare the steak—and don’t forget the fish sauce

This recipe calls for four six-ounce beef tenderloin steaks. He brushes them with fish sauce, instead of using salt, to infuse lots of flavor—it gives better coloration on the meat. The finishing touch is adding freshly ground black pepper on both sides.

Meanwhile, take out the frites

Once the frites are golden brown (it should take about 15 minutes), strain them and place them on a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle on a generous amount of salt.

Cook the steak…

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of grapeseed oil (seriously, make sure it’s hot) and add the steaks. Make sure to cook each side of the steaks evenly—e.g., if you cook one side three minutes, make sure the other side gets three minutes, too. You want it to develop a nice crust.

…and then, let it rest

After the steaks are done, let them rest before digging in. All of the blood goes to the center of the meat, and causes it to get tough; however, if you let it rest, it will dissipate. 

Start the sauce

Sometimes, you make the sauce before you cook the steak, but in this case, you use leftover fond in the pan as the base (just make sure you pour out the fat). Add one quarter cup of shallots and two tablespoons of butter, and sauté them, letting them soften. 

Deglaze and flambé

Next, Lefebvre deglazes the pan with brandy before flambéing everything (your fire alarm might go off like his did).

Remember those condiments

With the flames gone, it’s time to add the condiment mix made a little while back, as well as veal stock. Bring to a boil, and mix well—then, add even more butter (two more tablespoons). Add chives and a little lemon juice, and you’re all set to plate.

Serve

Put the frites and steak on the plate, and finally, ladle the sauce on top of the steak. Add more fresh chives on top, for garnish.

Bonus cocktail

Lefebvre makes a cocktail with Ciroc Pineapple (Ciroc is sponsoring his show) to accompany the steak called a Collins D’Herbes. He combines it with fresh lemon juice, tarragon syrup, and ice in a shaker and mixes it all up. Then he pours it into a glass over ice, and adds club soda and fresh tarragon leaves for garnish.