As sent: *****
“Steak Diane” is the classic from the 90s. Cuisine has fashions, and popular dishes come and go. Why did this wonderful dish fall out of style?
Tasting: The basis of this dish is a sirloin steak, and it had to go wrong with that. Briefly marinated in Worcestershire, it is then quickly seared and finished in the oven along with some roasted asparagus. My steak came out perfectly medium, although I have to say that the asparagus, roasted, was a little oily and shriveled. It is served alongside mashed potatoes made unctuous with butter and cream. But the superstar of this dish is the mushroom sauce featuring meaty Crimini mushrooms and a pan sauce made with demi-glace (a rich stock based), Dijon mustard, sherry and cream. The sauce is rich and full of flavor, and it is absolutely perfect on the steak. I don’t care if it is in style or not. This dish is a keeper!
Cooking: There is not a lot of prep time needed for this dish. Get the steaks into a simple marinade of plain Worcestershire. Peel the potatoes and get them into boiling water for the mash. Slice the mushrooms and mince a shallot. And that’s it.
They want you to roast the asparagus in a 400 degree oven, so you need to toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. That goes into the oven while you give the steaks a quick sear on both sides in a hot pan, then add to the baking tray with the asparagus for 4-6 minutes. Then pull out the tray and leave to rest the steaks for 5-10 minutes while you make the sauce.
In the pan used to sear the steaks, add butter and the shallots and mushrooms, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Then add 2 tsps beef demi-glass, a tablespoon of Dijon, ¼ cup dry sherry, ½ cup water, and ¼ cup light cream. Stir and keep an eye on it for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Drain the cooked potatoes, then add ¼ cup cream, ½ tablespoon of butter, and salt and pepper. Mash. Plate the steak and potatoes, with the sauce over the steak, and the asparagus on the side.
Hacking: To be honest, this dish is amazing as it is. But of course, I have issues with roasting the asparagus. I have an electric kettle, which I consider a kitchen essential, since it boils water much faster than boiling water on the stovetop. I use this Hamilton Beach kettle, which is pretty and sort of futuristic. So for the asparagus, boil the kettle, then add it to a medium pot over high heat. Add the asparagus, then blanch the asparagus until it is just cooked and still bright green. Then use tongs to transfer the asparagus to a boil of ice water to stop the cooking and lock in that green color. Once the asparagus is cool, transfer it back into the hot water, off the heat, and the asparagus will get hot again, but won’t darken.
To sear a steak, the recipe card tells you that you need a hot pan and olive oil. However, this is not enough to get your steak nicely browned. The trick is to use a little olive oil plus a tablespoon of butter. Let the butter melt in the olive oil until it hot. Be sure the steaks, which have been marinating, have been patted dry. Add the dry steaks to the hot pan, and you will get a nice sear, as the butter helps with the caramelization of the meat.
As for the potatoes, if you want perfect, and I mean perfect, mashed potatoes, you will need something called a ricer. This OXO ricer works fine. It mashes potatoes in a snap, and it result is restaurant-worthy. In this case, put the cream and the butter into a small pan and heat a little until the butter is just melted, or heat in a microwave for 15-20 seconds. Once the potatoes are riced into a pan or bowl, add the warm cream and butter and stir into the move velvety mashed potatoes you have ever had. (Pro tip: classic mashed potatoes have the tiniest dash of nutmeg added. If you have fresh nutmeg, grate a little bit with a microplane, or add a tiny pinch. It changes the whole game for mashed potatoes.)