Treat Yourself – An Intro to Steak & Fries

As you’re probably aware, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I get bored with certain foods easily, and I am always hunting for my new favorite recipe. However, sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple steak. No fancy toppings. No herbed butter sauces. Just meat and salt. And you know, some sexy steak frites.

The Steak

Other than salt and pepper, this is literally all that goes into this meal.

Sure you can go wild with how much you spend on a cut a beef, which can also making cooking steak intimidating and feel like it’s something you need a special occasion for. Remember, YOU are the special occasion, and you deserve it.

I’ve had *very* expensive steaks before. I’ve cooked wagyu and kobe at home. I’ve grilled a two-pound cowboy cut of prime beef. But honestly, what I love the most is a good skirt steak. These cuts are always well-marbled (fat is flavor), quick to cook, and require almost no thinking.

When steak shopping, looking for something that has a decent amount of fat, not on the cap but running through the meat. This fat will melt as you cook it, making sure your steak is juicy and tender. Most skirt steaks are already there by the nature of the cut, but you can definitely take a minute to find the best one. You’re treating yourself. Don’t try to go lean.

If you like your steak on the raw end of rare, like I do, make sure to bring your meat to room temperature before you cook it. This will mean that the rarer bits won’t be cold. Some folks will tell you to salt your meat beforehand, but I like to top mine with a crunchy sea salt for texture, so I leave this step out entirely.

Look at all that sexy marbling. Also, I have a grill on my stove, so I just threw it directly onto that bad boy.

Before you grill your steak, take a paper towel and lightly dry the meat off. This will keep the moisture from coming out into the pan and preventing a good crust while also steaming (ick) your meat.

To cook, turn on the broiler in your oven, then heat your grill pan (it needs to be something that can go in the oven, so no plastic handles) to smoking. No need for oil or butter or anything. When everything is ready (this process goes fast), just drop your steak on the grill and transfer to under the broiler. Depending on the thickness of the steak (and how rare you like it), you’ll cook it in the oven for 3-4 minutes then flip it over for another 2-4 minutes. Because you are using the direct heat of the broiler, you can leave the oven cracked to keep an eye on it.

When it’s cooked to your liking, remove the steak onto a plate and tent it with aluminum foil for at least 5 minutes so that the meat can reabsorb its juices. To plate, cut the skirt steak into strips about one inch wide. Serve with choice of sides, freshly ground black pepper, and crunchy sea salt. (I like this one.)

The Frites

When making fries, if you have the option of using Kennebec potatoes, DO IT! They are the absolute best potatoes for frying. Watch for them at your local farmer’s market.

If you haven’t yet invested in a mandolin yet, it will definitely make your fry-making easier. However, if you don’t have one, try to cut your potatoes into fairly consistently sized strips. (If using the fancy cutter, put on the larger of the two blade types.) Once you’ve cut your potato, put the future fries into a bowl of ice water for at least 30 minutes. This will draw out the starch and make for crispier fries.

But like seriously, use the hand guard.

While these are soaking, go ahead and make your aioli. You can make one from scratch, but you can also be lazy like me and just mix together some kewpie mayo (the most superior of mayos!) and finely minced garlic with a pinch of salt and whatever else you’d like to add! Mix well and pop in the fridge until dinner.

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again, just go ahead and buy that deep-fryer. Look, you’re not going out and those fries don’t just make themselves. Fryers are safer than doing the same work on the stove, and you can reuse the oil, which means they will save you money in the long-run. You can set temperatures more consistently, which will be helpful for this recipe.

Turn your fryer to 325 degrees. While the oil is heating, drain your fries and pat them dry. (If they’re wet, the oil will spatter, and trust me, you do not want that.) Once the fryer is at the right temperature, drop the fries for six minutes. Then remove and drain. Work in batches as necessary.

Turn your fryer up to 360 degrees. When the temperature is right, drop your fries for a second cooking for two minutes. When they are done, drain them, salt them, and eat immediately with your steak and maybe a nice glass or two of the wine of your choosing, because you are treating yourself after all.

Okay, so I made a little salad too. We’ll get to that!

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