Get Your Grilling Season Off to a Great Start With This Steak Frites Recipe

The perfect date night dinner

April 11, 2023 6:48 am
Steak Frites
A perfect steak frites
Katie June Burton

The wood oven is the hearth and heart of Miami Beach‘s The Drexel, where chef Nano Crespo takes full advantage of the blazing, 800-degree heat to render whole sea bream tender and moist, bring out the best in luscious lamb chops and, of course, master the art of a top-notch skirt steak.

The secret to preparing this flavorsome cut is to just barely kiss it with ripping hot heat, Crespo says.

“Different temperatures are used for different menu items of course, but the steaks are always seared at very high temperatures,” he says. “The grain of the meat combined with its rich quality make it the perfect grilling steak.”

Given its quick cook time, however, the steak is actually the last step of this simple steak frites. The pile of golden brown French fries served alongside it actually need your attention a day in advance, for an overnight saltwater brine that infuses the russet potatoes with loads of flavor. They’re then blanched in 200º F oil to cook through and set aside to cool.

“This step ensures their crispiness when we fry them to order,” says the chef, noting that the brined and blanched potatoes are fried at 350º F just before serving until they’re “golden brown and super crispy.”

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At the restaurant, the steak is paired with a classic béarnaise sauce, made with clarified butter and egg yolks seasoned with fresh tarragon, Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar reduction. The latter, explains the chef, is made by simmering equal parts white wine and sherry vinegar with sliced shallots, tarragon stems, bay leaves and black peppercorns. Reduced by half, the concentrated mixture adds loads of flavor to the finished sauce, which is so popular Crespo opts to rely on store-bought clarified butter to keep up with demand. “We would have to use 10 pounds of butter a day to make enough clarified for the béarnaise sauce daily!”

At home, using the same trick provides a shortcut that shaves off hands-on cooking time significantly.

Once the fries are cooked and the béarnaise is creamy, it’s finally time to lend your attention to the steak. And for that, nothing could be simpler.

“A good medium-rare to medium skirt steak should take anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes,” says Crespo. The few extra minutes of rest time should be just enough for the fries’ second oil bath, at which point it’s time to carve and serve that juicy piece of beef.

“It really is the perfect grilling steak,” says Crespo. “It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and our cooks love it, too.”

Here, for you to try at home, is chef Crespo’s perfect steak frites recipe.

Skirt Steak with Béarnaise and Fries

Total Time: Overnight

Servings: 1

  • 300 grams (10½ ounces) skirt steak
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • For the sherry vinegar reduction
  • 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) sherry vinegar
  • 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • Tarragon stems
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • For the béarnaise
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) clarified butter
  • 10 grams (about ½) egg yolk
  • 5 grams (about 1 teaspoon) lemon juice
  • 5 grams (about 2 teaspoons) sherry vinegar reduction (see instructions below)
  • 5 grams (about 1 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 5 grams (about 1½ tablespoons) tarragon
  • 3 grams (about ½ teaspoon) Dijon mustard
  • 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons)
  • For the French fries
  • 1 kilo (2¼ pounds) russet potatoes
  • 3 kilos (6⅔ pounds) vegetable shortening
    1. The night before, dissolve 1 cup of salt in 1 gallon of water. Peel the potatoes and slice into fries, then place in the brine and soak overnight.

    2. The next morning, drain the fries and pat dry. In a large pot, heat the vegetable shortening to 200º F, and blanch the fries until cooked through but not browned. Set aside to cool thoroughly, and remove the steak from the fridge to bring to room temperature.

    3. For the béarnaise, first make the sherry vinegar reduction: Reduce equal parts white wine and sherry vinegar with the sliced shallots, tarragon stems, bay leaves and black peppercorns. Reduce by half, then set aside to cool. Once cooled, strain out the solids. Measure out 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of the sherry vinegar reduction for the béarnaise.

    4. Place the clarified butter in a saucepan, and heat over medium high heat until completely melted. Prepare a saucepan of simmering water, and in a heat-safe mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and Dijon until the yolks foam lightly turn pale. Begin streaming the clarified butter slowly, whisking the entire time. Place the bowl over the saucepan, and slowly stream in all of the butter until the emulsion is thick and holds a ribbon for three seconds. Remove from the heat and fold in the chopped tarragon. Taste for seasoning.

    5. Heat the shortening to 350º F for the second fry.

    6. Season the steak evenly on all sides. Place on the grill over high heat coals. Cook until the first side is caramelized, then flip. (About four to six minutes total will give you the perfect medium-rare.) Transfer to a tray to rest.

    7. While the steak rests, refry the fries until they’re golden brown and super crispy.

    8. Serve the steak with béarnaise and a pile of French fries.


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