Steak frites — French for steak with fries — can be very simple to make, but nothing can be better to eat. Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, co-chefs of Balthazar, the New York brasserie renowned for its steak frites, were invited on the show to share this dish. Here are the recipes.
French FriesLee Hanson and Riad Nasr
Peel the potatoes and cut each one lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack a few slices and cut lengthwise every 1/4 inch, resulting in fries that are about 4 to 5 inches long and 1/4-inch thick.
Transfer the sliced potatoes to a large bowl and cover with water. Refrigerate and soak for at least 12 hours or overnight. Drain the fries at least 20 minutes before cooking them and dry on kitchen towels.
Pour the peanut oil into a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pot to gauge the oil's temperature and turn on a medium flame. When the oil reaches a temperature of 370º F, add a third of the cut potatoes. The oil temperature will drop to about 280º F when the potatoes are thrown in. Cook for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside on a baking sheet. Return the oil to a temperature of 370º F and add the next batch. Repeat the process until all the fries are done.
For the second fry, heat the same oil to 380º F. Add half the fries and cook for 3-1/2 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on absorbent paper while the other half is frying. Sprinkle with sea salt on a baking sheet and serve as soon as possible.
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SteakLee Hanson and Riad Nasr
To cook the steaks, preheat the grill. Arrange the coals so there's an area of high heat and an area of more moderate heat. Set the grill about 3 inches above the coals. If cooking indoors, preheat a dry grill pan over a high flame for at least 3 minutes.
Season the steaks with the salt and pepper, and then rub with the olive oil. Sear the steaks on the hottest part of the grill, about 3 minutes on each side, and then move them to a more moderate heat (or lower the flame to medium if using a grill pan) to cook for an additional 3 minutes per side for medium-rare; add 2 minutes per side for medium. (If using a grill pan, reduce the cooking times: 2 minutes per side for medium rare, 3 minutes per side for medium). Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes (during which time the second blanching of the French Fries can take place). As always, an instant-read thermometer removes the guesswork, telling exactly when the steaks reach 125º F for medium-rare or 130º F for medium. Serve with a pat of maitre d'hotel butter melting over each steak.
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