Saturday, October 26, 2013

Steak Diane

 If you were talking Minneapolis fine dining in the last mid-century, there were two names that always rose to the top....Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale and Harry's. On January 8, 1978, Harry's burned to the ground in a spectacular four alarm fire. The corner of 11th and Nicollet has never been the same.

Charlie's was the composed and classy Cate Blanchett. Harry's was the flashy and brassy Cameron Diaz. I will never forget ordering Steak Diane at Harry's. FlambĂ©ed table side, it made for some of the best "food as theater" one would ever see. The showmanship of preparation was exceeded only by the taste of the food.

These dinosaurs are no longer around. Death by evolution, or in the case of Harry's, death by fire. The only restaurant left in Minneapolis that remotely resembles that kind of experience is La Belle Vie. Compared to Charlie's, Harry's and La Belle Vie, everything else is just a well-polished, third-world experience.

While the places we so loved may be gone, their food still lives on. This recipe serves two, but please exercise all due caution with the flambé...we don't need another four alarm fire for the history books.

4 (3-ounce) filet mignon medallions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 teaspoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup sliced white mushroom caps
1/4 cup Cognac
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 drops hot red pepper sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves

  1. Season the beef medallions on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 45 seconds on the first side. Turn and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Add the shallots and garlic to the side of the pan and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 minutes. Place the meat on a plate and cover to keep warm.
  3. Tilt the pan towards you and add the cognac. Tip the pan away from yourself and ignite the cognac with a match. (Alternatively, remove the pan from the heat to ignite, and then return to the heat.) When the flame has burned out, add the mustard and cream, mix thoroughly and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce and stir to combine. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan and turn the meat to coat with the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and parsley. Divide the medallions and sauce between two plates and serve immediately.

    Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

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