This traditional bistro recipe is from Josh Moulton, executive chef at Bleu Café in Greenwich, Connecticut. Here the frites, French fries, are cooked two times. For delicious results, do the first round of frying a day ahead, chill the fries, and fry again just before serving. And, if you don’t have a cooking thermometer, heat the oil, then test it by submerging one fry; if the fry pops up and floats, the oil is hot enough for cooking.
The ripe fruit of a Sonoma County Merlot or Zinfandel is the perfect counterpoint to these simply grilled steaks; recommended Merlot producers include Kendall-Jackson, Longboard and Pride Mountain, and recommended producers for Zinfandel include Greenwood Ridge, DeLoach and Rosenblum.
- For the frites
- 8 Idaho, russet, or Burbank potatoes, peeled
- Soybean oil (enough to fill the pan to a depth of 3 inches)
- For the steaks
- 4 (10-ounce) sirloin steaks
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
To make the frites: Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch sticks. Line a large baking pan with a double layer of paper towels.
In a large, deep pot, heat the soybean oil over medium-high heat to 250 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer. Add the potatoes and blanch them until they are soft all the way through but not crisp or colored, 4 to 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes from the oil to drain on the towel-lined pan. Reserve the oil for later use in the recipe. Remove the used towels, replace with fresh ones, and spread the potatoes out in a single layer, using more lined pans if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight, ideally 24 hours.
Before serving, preheat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler until hot. Season the steaks well with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the steaks to the desired degree of doneness. 7 to 9 minutes for rare, 9 to 12 minutes for medium rare and 11 to 13 minutes for medium. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and let stand, loosely covered, for 5 minutes.
While the steaks stand, remove the potatoes from the refrigerator. Heat the reserved oil in the large, deep pot to 350 degrees F. Add the blanched potatoes and deep-fry them until crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain briefly on paper towels. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and serve at once with the steaks.