Steak Diane is a dish that oozes nostalgia for me… it takes me right back to my 10-year-old self in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
As I described in one of my very first posts, Spaghetti Bolognese, my father’s career at Ford Motor Company took us to Brazil and the sumptuous Hotel Ca’d’Oro for 11 weeks while our shipment of household items meandered south from suburban Detroit. Dinner was a time of wonder in the elegant white-tablecloth hotel restaurant. The Brazilian churrascos and feijoidas and moqueqas that would come to inspire my brother's career came later. Hotel Ca’ d’Oro was five-star Italian, and it was a far cry from the only Italian I had experienced in suburban Detroit at Little Caesar's Pizza. I recall being pampered and fussed over like a small princess by the Italian-Brazilian waiters, and I only remember ordering two things: the Steak Diane, which was flambeed dramatically tableside (how cool was that?!) and the Spaghetti Bolognese.
Like Spaghetti Bolognese, I have been tinkering with Steak Diane recipes for years… and, after many misses, finally found a darn near perfect version from Julia Reed’s “But Mama always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!” Steaks are pounded thin, then quickly seared and set aside. An insanely rich and flavorful sauce of butter, shallots, parsley, dijon, lemon and Worcestershire sauce comes together in a skillet, also flambeed with a generous splash of cognac (alas, not tableside). A bit of of heavy cream or half and half finishes the sauce. Divine.
This is one of those recipes that is actually super-simple as long as you prep and measure out all the ingredients in advance, and read the recipe through a few times before you start so you have a good sense of the game plan. (Have those matches next to the stove people!).
Let me admit to you that I made and tried to photograph this dish half a dozen times over the past couple of years, and have struggled mightily to find a blog-worthy photo. I can’t seem to make it look quite as pretty as it is delicious.
Yet friends and relatives treated to this dish at House Morell have called or texted to say: “Where is your Steak Diane recipe?” So I finally broke down and offer you photos of the prep – if I ever get a perfect photo of the finished dish (before it is inhaled by a friend of family member), I’ll update the post.
If you are staying in for New Year’s Eve this year, might I suggest this would be the perfect dish to whip up to celebrate?
Adapted, only slightly, from Julia Reed's delightful "But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria!"
- 4 beef fillets, cut from the tenderloin (I ask my butcher to cut them ½ inch thick for me)
- Salt and pepper (or I use a butcher's steak rub, similar to McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning)
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup finely minced shallots
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup cognac or brandy
- ¼ cup rich beef stock
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- Make sure all your ingredients are prepped and measured out before you begin!
- Trim the meat of any fat, and pound each steak until they are about a ¼ inch thick. Season each steak with salt and freshly ground black pepper or steak seasoning.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Just as the butter begins to brown, add the steaks, two at a time. Cook for 40 seconds on the first side, 30 seconds on the second side, then place them on a warm platter, and cover with a bit of aluminum foil. Repeat with the other two steaks.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. When foaming, stir in the shallots and the parsley. Let cook for a minute, then add the cognac and flame.
- When the flame has burned out, add the stock, dijon, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine and simmer for a minute. Whisk in the cream or half and half and simmer for 30 seconds longer.
- Turn off the heat, place the steaks back in the pan to bathe in the sauce, remove to platter, and pour remaining sauce over them.