Pan-seared steak with shallots
There are two ways to prepare a fine cut of steak Bordeaux style — as entrecôte bordelaise, without a wine sauce (the traditional way), and as entrecôte à la bordelaise, with a wine sauce (also known as entrecôte marchand de vin). Both are described below.
The key to success is choosing an excellent cut of meat. If you live outside of France, good substitutes for entrecôte steak are rib-eye, Porterhouse, sirloin, club and New York strip.
Another tip: don’t salt the meat until it’s ready to come to the table. The reason is that the salt will draw out the juices, while pan-searing without salt will seal the juices in.
a 1-pound (500 g.) premium steak
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. butter
1 branch parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
To prepare your steak without a wine sauce:
Peel and finely mince 2 large or 3 medium shallots. Mince the parsley.
Heat the olive oil to sizzling in a skillet. Add 1 tsp. butter. Pan-sear the steak for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your steak and how rare you like your meat.
Remove the steak to a serving platter. Season with salt and grind on some black pepper. Cover with the minced shallots. If carving the steak before bringing it to the table, cut it crosswise against the grain. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 2.
To prepare your steak with a wine sauce:
Peel and finely mince 1 large or 2 medium shallots. Mince the parsley.
In a small saucepan, bring 1 tbsp. butter to sizzling. Turn the heat down to medium, add the minced shallots and cook until they have wilted, about one minute. Add the wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat, bring to a boil and allow to reduce until most of the wine has evaporated, leaving a syrupy sauce. Remove from heat.
Cut the remaining 2 tbsp. butter into 4 pieces and add them one piece at a time, stirring to incorporate well before adding the next piece. This will produce an unctuous sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. You may filter the sauce through a sieve or serve as is, shallots and all.
Now cook the steak. Heat the olive oil to sizzling in a skillet. Add 1 tsp. butter. Pan-sear the steak for 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your steak and how rare you like your meat.
Remove the steak to a serving platter. Season with salt and grind on some black pepper. If carving the steak before bringing it to the table, cut it crosswise against the grain. Spoon on some sauce and sprinkle with parsley. Bring the extra sauce to the table. Serves 2.
What to serve with the steak? French fries are traditional in France, along with a garnish of watercress. Other popular choices are pan-fried or mashed potatoes, a vegetable purée, mushrooms (cultivated or wild — porcinis are great!), zucchini or green beans. And, of course, a fine red wine. Bordeaux would be the best choice.