Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ooh la la

As I sit here selecting options for a holiday dinner at a French restaurant, I can't help but drool a little.  And so, in honor of that - two scrumdiddlyumptious looking French recipes that I happened to stumble across at the very time that I'm craving French food.  Kismet.
And by the way - if you like bread pudding, please let me know.  Seems most of the folks I love are not into soggy bread and lord knows I don't need 4-6 servings of anything butter and cream laden sitting around waiting for me to eat it.

Steak Frites (recipe taken from Gourmet)
Serves 4
28 to 30 ounces frozen french fries
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (1 1/2-to 2-pounds) tri-tip beef roast (also called triangular roast; about 2 inches thick), cut into 4 steaks
2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
3 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F with racks in upper and lower thirds, with a 4-sided sheet pan in lower third.
  2. Toss fries with 2 tablespoons oil in hot sheet pan, then bake according to package instructions until golden and crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, pat steaks dry, then rub with peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sear steaks on all sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer skillet to upper third of oven and roast 9 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a plate and let rest 5 minutes.
  5. Add wine to skillet and boil, scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add water and meat juices from plate and boil briskly until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in butter until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sprinkle fries with tarragon. Serve steaks with sauce and fries. 

Tartine's Savory Bread Pudding
Serves four to six
Note: You can assemble the dish a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator, letting it come to room temperature before baking. Bake the pudding an hour before you want to serve it.
For the filling
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
½ c. dry white wine
Olive oil
2 lbs. assorted mushrooms (like chanterelles and porcini), stems trimmed and caps halved
1 head Treviso or other radicchio, leaves separated

For the custard
5 large eggs
½ tsp. salt
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
¼ tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2/3 c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese
3 oz. smoked ham, chopped
2 slices day-old Basic Country Bread (recipe in book), torn into large chunks
½ c. grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese

1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, 6-8 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is smoking, arrange the mushrooms cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring until seared and caramelized, about 1 minute more. Stir the mushrooms, add the radicchio, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste. Remove from heat.
3. Preheat the oven to 375º.
4. To make the custard, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and salt until well blended. Add the cream, milk, pepper, nutmeg, thyme, cheese, and ham, and whisk to combine.
5. Place the bread chunks in an 8-inch souffle dish and add the leeks, mushrooms, and radicchio. Pour in the custard so that it comes all the way to the rim. Sprinkle evenly with the grated cheese. Let stand 8-10 minutes until the custard saturates the bread.
6. Bake until the custard is no longer runny in the center, about 50 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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