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Steak frites is France’s most-classic meat-and-potatoes meal, a bistro staple that can be sublime when properly made, and heartbreaking when it isn’t.

Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Our version strives for easily achievable excellence, thanks to cast iron’s heat retention properties, which ensures a deep sear on the steak and evenly crispy fries. We allow ourselves a slight shortcut, swapping out the traditional sauce béarnaise with a quick compound butter that mirrors the flavors of the creamy condiment.

Recipe: Steak Frites with Bearnaise Butter

Yield: 4 servings

Instructions

1.

Make the bearnaise butter: In a saucepan, bring the shallots, wine, and vinegar to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Add the butter, herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined.

2.

Spoon the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and shape into a log. Chill until ready to serve (the butter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 3 months).

3.

Make the fries: Peel the potatoes and cut into long fries about ¼ inch thick. Soak the fries in a bowl of water for at least 15 minutes, agitating occasionally, or up to overnight.

4.

Add about 2 inches of oil to a Field Dutch Oven and heat to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels (paper grocery bags also work well). Working in batches, gently lower the potatoes into the oil and fry, stirring frequently, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes (the potatoes shouldn’t brown). The oil temperature will drop to around 275°F while the potatoes cook; return the oil to 325°F between batches. When all of the potatoes have been fried for the first time, you can refrigerate them to for a few hours or proceed with the second fry.

5.

Heat the oil to 375°F. Working in batches, add the fries to the oil and fry, stirring frequently, until golden brown and very crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and blot dry with more paper towels. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. The oil temperature will drop to around 350°F while the potatoes cook; return the oil to 375°F between batches.

6.

Cook the steaks: Heat a No.9 Griddle or a No.8 (or larger) Field Skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season generously with salt. Add the oil to the griddle and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the steaks and cook, turning frequently, until well browned all over and an instant-read inserted into the center of the steak reaches 120°F (for medium rare, or 130°F for medium), 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a platter and let rest for a few minutes. Slice the steak against the grain into 1-inch pieces, then divide among plates and top with slices of the compound butter. Serve with the frites.


Seasoning Rating: Best

Searing steaks in a bit of oil always improves your skillet’s seasoning, and deep-frying the potatoes (twice!) is one of the best ways to build seasoning in your Field Dutch Oven—not just on the cooking surface, but along the sidewalls as well.

Seasoning Ratings:

Best—These dishes are the best options for building resilient seasoning, and surefire choices for getting tricky pans back on track.

Better—The best way to keep your skillet in great shape is to cook frequently, and cast iron-friendly dishes like these are your bread and butter.

Safe—These recipes won't strip seasoning away from your pan, but won't really add any, either.

OK—Be sure to clean up promptly. Recipes with this rating might feature acidic ingredients which can affect seasoning if not washed soon after cooking.