Steak Frites

Pair with Pagani Ranch Zinfandel

Yield: 6


  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick sticks
  • 2 tablespoons clarified butter, plus more for deep frying (see note)
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons drained green peppercorns in brine
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black peppercorns, plus more for the steaks 1 1/2 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 6 (6-ounce) filet mignon steaks
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme



  1. In a large bowl, cover the potatoes with cold water and toss to release the starch. Drain and repeat until the water is clear. Pat dry with paper towels.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a deep fryer fitted with a basket or in a heavy large saucepan, heat 3 inches of clarified butter to 250°. (soybean or grapeseed oil are fine substitutes).
    Add half the potatoes and fry, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute 30 seconds.
  3. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and spread out. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Refrigerate the potatoes until cold.
  4. Once the potatoes are thoroughly chilled, line another baking sheet with parchment paper and re-heat the clarified butter (or oil) in the deep fryer to 375°.
    Add half of the cold potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and season with fleur de sel. Repeat with the remaining potatoes.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of clarified butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Cognac and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by nearly half. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the sauce until smooth.
  3. To the puréed sauce, add the cream, green peppercorns and 2 1/2 teaspoons of the black peppercorns and simmer over moderately low heat until the cream is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with fleur de sel and keep warm.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Season the steaks with kosher salt. Reduce the heat to medium, add the oil to the skillet, and swirl to coat. Add the steaks and cook until caramelized, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 120° for rare. Transfer the meat to a carving board to rest.
  5. Pour off the fat from the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Return the steaks to the skillet, add the unsalted butter, garlic cloves & thyme sprigs, and cook, tilting the pan and basting the steaks, until the butter is golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the steaks to serving platters or plates, spoon the pepper sauce over the top and season with black pepper. Serve with the frites.


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