12.01.2018

I Want Both!

According to Giselle Philippi, the chef at Le Sud en Haut in Marseille, people often have to make a choice. In most restaurants, they must choose between the Steak au Poivre, or the Steak aux Échalotes.

Her feeling is, “Why not have both?” That would be my way of looking at it, as well. Her recipe combines the two into a spicy explosion of sweet and hot.

And, thus, when Susan and Towny (from the Provence WineZine) were here in Tucson in the summer, I made Philippi’s recipe to pair with a 2011 Saint Sauveur from L’Abbaye de Lérins. To learn more about the wine and food pairing, head over to the WineZine for a read. For the meat of the issue, stay with me for a while...

I was at the American Eat Company to meet colleagues for happy hour the evening before Susan and Towny arrived. The American Eat Co. occupies the old American Meat Co. building in South Tucson. (Get it? American Meat became American Eat?) They transformed the old meat packing plant into a fun and eclectic food court - a little something for everyone!

At one counter, you can get great ribs , at another Latino delights, then on to poke bowls, pizza, Greek cuisine, sliders, Mexican baked goods, and locally-made ice cream. Of course there is a bar, too, just to make sure you don’t go thirsty!

Among them all, tucked back into the corner, is a wonderful butcher shop called Dos Amigos. Run by Andres and his lovely fiancée Yesenia, the shop supplies the meat for the above mentioned vendors. Their meats are beautiful and, knowing I was planning this dish for dinner, I was inspired to get my beef there. If you are in Tucson, you should definitely stop in.

My inspiration went a little further when I found some fresh morel mushrooms at the grocery store. They weren’t called for in Philippi’s recipe but Towny and I thought a few sautéed slices atop the steak wouldn’t hurt anyone. (Warning: eating them raw, however, is dangerous! Always cook your morels and don’t eat too many!)

It was a wonderful evening. We were joined by their daughter, Alex, who was traveling from the West Coast back East, and our friend Barbara. Wine poured freely, laughter and stories ensued, and we ended the evening talking about things we want to accomplish in our lives, along with the places we want to go.

They were good questions - and a reminder never to take what we have for granted. I ask you: what do you want to accomplish in your life? And where is someplace special you would like to visit?

~ David

Filet de Bœuf Poêlé au Poivre Concassé sur Échalotes Confites
Steak au Poivre with Caramelized Shallots
From Giselle Philippi, Made in Marseille by Daniel Young

5-6 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces morel or other wild mushrooms
splash of Madeira
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 six-ounce filet mignon, trimmed
2 tablespoons peppercorns
herbes de Provence
fresh chervil or parsley for garnish


Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet and add the shallots. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the shallots are soft and beginning to turn golden. Add the honey and lemon juice, and continue cooking until the shallots are very dark and caramelized. Add the wine, and cook down until the mixture is syrupy, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.

Clean, trim, and slice the mushrooms. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add mushrooms, sautéing then until soft and fragrant. Add a splash of Madeira (or port, or wine) and cook until it has reduced. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely crack the black peppercorns and spread them evenly on a plate. Pat steaks dry with paper towels, and press both sides of the filets into the peppercorns. Then sprinkle both sides liberally with the herbes de Provence.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When very hot - almost smoking - add the filets, reduce heat to medium-high and sear for 3-4 minutes on the first side, then about 3 minutes on the second side (for medium rare). Your timing will depend on the thickness of your filets and your heat source. Using an instant read thermometer is the best way to ensure accuracy. (130°F for rare, 145°F for medium rare, 160°F for medium, and 170°F for well done.)

While the steaks are searing, reheat the shallots and mushrooms.

To plate, divide the shallot mixture among four serving plates. Top with a steak, and then top the steak with a few mushroom slices and a sprinkling of chervil or parsley.

Makes 4 servings.


41 comments:

  1. Steak is my husband ‘s favorite food and I love your recipe. I have to make it for him. As you know I love to travel , right now I am in Washington DC and I find it fascinating. There still many places I would like to visit and I hope I am able to do so.

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    1. That is so true, Gerlinde - it seems that every time I turn around, you are in a different part of the world! It’s wondeful!

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    2. Gerlinde, I was also just in D.C.- hopefully you can visit Julia Childs'kitchen at the American History Museum!

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    3. I love Julia’s kitchen there... a place of pilgrimage!

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  2. You have asked some big questions there! I am still yet to make it to New Zeland, one day I shall make it I just need to save a few pennies first...

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    1. Me, too, Emma - and while I am there, Australia is just around the corner!

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  3. Hello David ! Let me write it's 9.30 a.m. here and would gladly have a huge lunch now after I have read your lines :-) The place(s) I would very much like to see ? Alaska definitely ! And Canada lakes, and ... well I'll stop here :-) Enjoy the day !

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    1. Thanks - it’s 7:30am here and I would have one, too!

      When you come to Canada or Alaska, don’t forget that Tucson has some truly beautiful scenery, too! (And meals at out home!]

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  4. Where do I want to go? Hmmm ... Norway would be one. Canada and rural China would be a couple of others. Allow me to ponder a while as I pretend I'm slicing into one of these stunning steaks!

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    1. The whole world is out there, isn’t it John? Don’t forget you promised a Tucson visit next time you are on this continent! :)

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  5. What a classy post from a classy guy. David, the American Eat Company is my kind of place. We have to travel to Copenhagen for such a venue. Wonderful preparation of a fine cut of beef. I'll take mine rare please.

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    1. Thanks, Ron. That just made my day! Good beef served rare is exquisite! Reminding me that I haven’t made steak tartare for a long time...

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  6. I would aim for 160F medium, David, and would sit and admire that beautiful dish for a moment or two before diving in. Beautiful!

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    1. The funny thing, Jean, is that - after giving goal temperatures for the meat - I have to admit that I have never used a thermometer to check the doneness of meat, fowl, fish, candy, or bread...

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  7. You have brought up so much you actually have not stated in words, Thank you. A dish I do not prepare too often . . . but the perfect recipe atop the file when I next get to it . . .

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    1. off topic - Found during the day: Wish you and I and ours could have shared: 12 Nov, in NYC: Arvo Part with Tonu Kaljuste and the Estonian Philharmonic Choir -'The Sound of the Sacred' . . . totally booked out before, not even a 'wait list' available . . . Have always loved Kaljuste, even before he became a name . . . YouTube friendly . . .

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    2. I don’t prepare this often, either! Definitely special occasion fodder.

      I don’t know Kaljuste - now I can’t wait to listen!

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  8. Oh, I would die for some fresh morel mushrooms! I'm lucky if I can find some dried ones. Of course, if you order filet mignon in France, you will be served pork tenderloin instead of beef- different meanings between the USA and France!
    Shallots and peppers together- I love the combo!

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    1. Having been to France many times, I am amused that I never knew that about pork/beef! I love learning new things.

      The shallot confit with the steak is amazing, Fran!

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  9. This looks so delicious! The sauce is amazing!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I have to say, that sauce would be good on a slice of toast!

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  10. Oh my this looks so good and it sounds divine! You've made me so hungry.

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  11. I have had Steak au Poivre many times, but never with shallots. Sounds amazing. Once in awhile we manage to collect a few morels in the spring. At the price to buy, bot much danger of someone overeating :)

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    1. Agreed - the prices are quite high for those little babies. But they are worth it when you can get a few!

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  12. That's a loaded question because there are so, so many places I want to go to. Number one on my list is Japan. As for what I want to accomplish in my life . . . . again so, so many things. I'll get back to you on that one, and move on to the recipe. :-) Love the combination of the two dishes -- so many strong, bold flavors. (I might be missing it, but I don't think I'm seeing the steak in the ingredient list.)

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    1. You had me scared there for a second, Valentina! The steaks are there - 4 six-ounce filets... :)

      Japan has been high on my list, too... especially since I would love to taste sushi where it was created. SO much of what we get in the U.S. isn't authentic, although it is very good and I eat/like it! .... I look forward to you getting back to me with your accomplishment goals. ;-)

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  13. Hi David - Steak au Poivre made ONLY with filet is one of my favorites - but then the conversation (argument) of cooking it well-done always ensues...so I rarely (pun intended) order it any more. In response to your reply to Ron, above - I love steak tartare! But love my actual cooked meat well-done! Go figure.

    As to places to visit - so much more of the good old US that I'd love to see. More of CA, have never been to NM or MT or WY. And a trip to Italy with Brian would be great, too! xoxo

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    1. Wow - that is quite the contradiction! But we like what we like, and it is important to know that!

      I agree with you - and Mark does, as well - there is so much to see in our own country! I really want to explore the slot canyons here in the Southwest... and I think you would love New Mexico! MT and WY are two of the only states I haven't visited... but give me time!

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  14. David, this looks heavenly! Those morels, I've gotta get my hands on some. I'm going to make this for my family this w/end! xoxo

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    1. If you can't find any morels, Colette, just make it without! You won't regret it! :)

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  15. Don't often see fresh morel mushrooms -- always grab some when I do. They make a nice addition to any steak dinner. Lovely recipe -- this look excellent. Where do I want to go? Well, we're sailing around the world -- in stages. :-)

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    1. Same with me, John - they are not often found which makes them very special.

      Keep on sailing - travel is the best part of our lives!

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  16. Wow! it looks divine. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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  17. This looks amazing, the crust on the meat looks so tasty and rich. Needless to talk about the shlalots...

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    1. Thanks, Greg - and, as always, love the alliteration!

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  19. Sounds like a lovely evening, enjoying a beautifully seared steak and a bottle of wine. Laughter and good conversation... What more could you ask for?

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    1. There really is nothing better, Frank! Always good to remember this when we are enjoying the moment, too.

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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