Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Steak Diane for Diane's Birthday

July 14, 2013

Steak Diane
Baked Potato
Petite Peas
Poetic Cellars 2007 Zinfandel
Dark Chocolate Mousse

Simple Steak Diane from Betty Crocker's Cookbook
Dark Chocolate Mousse from Cook's Illustrated

One of Diane's favorite dishes is Steak Diane. In restaurants it is often prepared table side with a dramatic flambé finale. Diane ordered this a few years ago in a restaurant in Reno; not realizing how awkward a question it would be, the server asked Diane how she would like her Diane cooked. Oops!

There is an America's Test Kitchen recipe that mimics what you would get in a restaurant. However, for years we have used a simple recipe from the 1974 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook, though it is interesting that the recipe is not in the 2005 edition. I did some research on-line and found many recipes which were similar to our old favorite, most include butter, onion or shallots, and Worcestershire sauce.

This recipe is extremely easy to make and takes very little time. A sauce is made by melting butter and using it to cook mushrooms, garlic, onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. A thin, tender steak, preferably a tenderloin, is quickly pan fried in butter and then served with the butter sauce.  And that's all there is to it. Because the meat is thin you need to be careful not to overcook it. Care is also needed to avoid burning the butter when frying the steak. Because of the reduced temperature and short cooking time don't expect to develop a lot of color on the surface of the steak.

For our meal, the steak was tender and complemented perfectly by the rich butter sauce enhanced by the earthiness of the mushrooms and the tang from the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. I used only half the amount of meat the recipe calls for but I made a full recipe of the sauce. Neither of us thought there was too much sauce and there was none left over.

To go with the steak we had several of Diane's favorite side dishes: potatoes, baked in the oven and not the microwave, sweet green peas, and a nice red wine that we purchased at the Poetic Cellars winery. This winery is in the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains and we have visited several times for tastings. Dessert was a homemade dark chocolate mousse that was smooth and light with rich chocolate flavor.

I believe that Diane was happy with her birthday dinner and wouldn't complain if it were served more often than once a year.

There was no leftover Steak Diane, but I cooked only half of the steak that I had purchased. This recipe is easy enough to make that you can use it for a week night dinner, and that is just what Diane did. We had plenty of mousse left over and so had it for dessert throughout the week. It kept quite well and while not as good as the day it was made it was an enjoyable treat all week long.

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