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!
A Northern Recipe: Moules Frites
This year, Le Tour started in Flanders and wandered through Holland, Belgium and the North of France before moving further afield. Hence my inclination towards a staple of the local cuisine: Moules marinière, usually served with frites, or in English mussels with french fries. It is quite a simple recipe, but the skill is in mastering the broth and not overcooking the mussels, as well as cooking the frites properly, that is cooking them twice in very high temperature vegetable oil. By the way, olive oil is NOT to be used as it will degrade in the process and will not reach the proper temperature. I use canola oil for all my deep frying.
So,here is the recipe:
You will need per person:
500g of mussels
one shallot head
50 grs of crème fraiche
You could also use some coconut milk to give it an asian twist, with some fresh coriander
olive oil for the broth
one pack of good vegetable stock
one bay leaf, 1 clove, some garlic, optional
one glass of white wine (preferably French...lol), but we used a Californian one this time...
one good size potato
See the simple method "en images" below. As my camera is travelling in Europe with my daughter, all this photos have been taken with my new iPhone 6+. The results are quite amazing.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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