People throughout France sit down regularly to a meal of deceptive simplicity and universal appeal: steak and french fries. It may seem like the world's easiest dish (after all, it requires only two main ingredients), but the steak must be meaty and juicy, the potatoes buttery and crisp, and both must arrive at the table piping hot. Here's an uptown version of this French bistro classic, featuring Steven Raichlen's favorite cut of beef for steaks—rib eye—anointed with a dollop of creamy Roquefort butter. The French would most likely pan-fry the steaks, but Raichlen prefers the flavor that comes with grilling.
The frites get their meltingly soft interior and crisp crust from a two-step frying process: the first at a lower temperature to cook them through, the second at a higher heat to crisp them.
Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips
6 rib eye steaks (about 1/2 pound each)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons, melted
Freshly ground pepper
1 ounce Roquefort cheese, at room temperature
4 large baking potatoes
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
Coarse sea salt
How to Make It
Brush the steaks with the melted butter and season with pepper; let the steaks come to room temperature.
In a small bowl, beat the 4 tablespoons of butter with the Roquefort until blended.
Peel the potatoes and slice lengthwise 1/4 inch thick. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch-wide sticks and soak in ice water for 15 minutes.
In a deep-fryer or a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of oil to 325°. Drain the potatoes and blot them completely dry. Divide the potatoes into 4 batches and fry each batch until cooked through but not browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried potatoes to paper towels to drain.
Light a grill. Generously season the steaks with salt and grill over a hot fire for 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Alternatively, pan-fry the steaks over moderately high heat for about 4 minutes per side.
Reheat the oil to 375°. Fry the potatoes until crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the frites to fresh paper towels to drain. Top each steak with a spoonful of Roquefort butter and serve the frites on the side.
The frites can stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours after their preliminary frying.
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