ONGLET A L'ECHALOTE ET VINAIGRE DE FRAMBOISE
This is a classic french and Parisian bistro recipe, albeit one which is rarely executed properly - primarily because the shallot sauce comes often pre-packed and is just poured over everything in about 60% of restaurants...
You also wonder how such a small cut of meat can be on every restaurant menu in Paris (and beyond...) and still be the genuine article... We are lucky in Sydney to have access to a butcher who can actually deliver this very special cut to a small, but growing, audience of connaisseurs!
This dish is served usually with onglet - hanger steak - a small piece of meat near the spleen of the animal, often considered as an offal, as it is removed from the carcass at the abattoir and packed separately to your butcher. The proximity to other organs gives it its metallic taste, hence the need to soften it with the shallot sauce. As onglet is a very small cut (usually less than 1 kg) it is often replaced by "bavette" - flank steak, which comes from the same general area of the animal, but is very different in texture.
But let's start at the beginning... Here is the list of ingredients you will need for four people:
Put the olive oil in a small pot, bring to temperature, add shallots, then 200 grams of butter
Deglaze the pot with the wine, raspberry vinegar and some stock. Reduce until you have just enough sauce to cover the shallots when plating. It needs to be unctuous rather than liquid
Now that our shallots and the sauce are ready, we will need to be ready to quickly cook the "frites" and the steaks AT THE SAME TIME. This requires to have both the grilling pan with no oil and that canola oil at the right temperature before you start. This is the tricky part if you want your frites to be crunchy and your steak still rare, as the onglet can't be overcooked to keep its juiciness and taste. You will need 3 minutes to cook the steaks on one side and the frites for the first time. When cooked, remove the fries from the oil and drain them of oil on kitchen paper, then turn the steaks over. Wait until the oil is hotter than the first time and fry the frites once more for approximately 3 minutes. Before you remove the frites from the oil once cooked, turn the heat off from under the steaks, so they have the time to rest AND the oil, for obvious security reasons. Drain the oil from the frites once more and then start plating on warm plates. First, the shallots and some sauce, then the frites, making sure the sauce doesn't touch them, and then finally plate the steaks.Serve and let each person season to their own taste. Serve with a good red wine, probably a Côtes-du-Rhône or a Bordeaux. You need something robust enough to cut through the metallic taste of the meat. So in that particular instance, I would not serve a Pinot Noir or a Merlot. You need a GSM or a Cabernet Sauvignon. Bon Appétit!
Yes, I know, the Tour is finished...But I always planned to give you six recipes from places that would be on or near one of the Tour stages this year. The Tour didn't quite make it to the Cote d'Azur, but I thought some of you would still like a mediterranean fish recipe. So here it is!
And no, it is not a bouillabaisse, as you already got this one. Instead, I was inspired by a few dishes I had a chance to try at various restaurants this week as I had a visitor from overseas and also by Jeremy Strode John Dory recipe at the SMH Growers Market in Pyrmont yesterday.
So, over my weekly visit to the Sydney Fish Market, I found some beautiful flathead, a fish I have not cooked in a long time and one that suits my recipe just fine.
Roasted Flathead on a bed of polenta and rich tomato sauce
First up, you need to prepare the polenta, as it needs to cook for longer. I used five cups of water for one cup of polenta. I poured the water in a large and high saucepan and on high heat, then poured the polenta into it without waiting for it to boil. then when it boils, reduce the heat and stir from time to time (not constantly as many recipes suggest...). It will take about 20 minutes to cook.
Then, start the tomato sauce: Olive oil, shallots, tin tomatoes, salt, pepper and a bit of garlic and half a glass of wine towards the end, and you are done! You add some tomato purée as well.
Finally on to the fish: Cut big chunks of the fish, according to your number of guests. In an oven proof pan, sear the fish in enough olive oil. Once evenly cooked on the outside, move the pan into a pre heated oven to about 200 degrees and roasted for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the fish. Check every 5 minutes to make sure you are not overcooking it.
The month of July is traditionally very busy in France with the Bastille Day celebrations and the Tour de France, as well as a lot of people going on holidays.
On a more personal note, it is also a month full of birthdays for our family: my grandmother was born on the 1st, my wife on the 3rd, my sister on the 7th and my son Gregoire on the 16th, being his 21st this year. Hence why you have not heard much from me recently...
In Australia, we are lucky to have a great coverage of the Tour on SBS, with also some culinary delights, by either our local Gabriel Gate, a Melbourne-based French chef, or the French Food Safari every Thursday night - and obviously the ever present MasterChef competition, which is often French inspired!
Some local restaurants are having a Bastille Day menu all month like "Uncorked" in North Sydney that we will review shortly.
Late last month, as we had my sister-in-law and her partner visiting from Perth on their way to Las Vegas, we had the pleasure to share a dinner at "Tastevin", a gorgeous French bistro in East Sydney, also on the list to be reviewed.
Finally, we have celebrated our son's 21st at Sepia in the Sydney CBD, where the chef is the ex executive chef at the very famous Tetsuya. To give you a glimpse of the place, I will just review the wines we sampled there on our wine page.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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