Over the weekend I became obsessed with the idea of Steak Diane. This dish was conceived, or at least popularized, at the Drake Hotel by Chef Beniamino Schiavon – “Nino of the Drake”. Prepared and flambéed tableside, the original featured a flattened sirloin steak sautéed and served with a pan sauce consisting of chives, cognac, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard and butter.
Steak Diane was popular in the 1950’s and served in New York’s French leaning restaurants and fine dining establishments scattered across the country. I was introduced to this dish by Pierre Franey’s “The 60-Minute Gourmet”. As readers of this blog already know, Franey’s book served as my introduction and inspiration to cooking.
By the time I first prepared Steak Diane it had already fallen out of fashion. An interesting story of the popular rise and fall of the dish is presented in Leah Koenig’s recurring Politico column “Lost Foods of New York City: Steak Diane”.
This version takes cues from several recipes and allows that there are many variations to Nino’s original recipe. A full thickness, well marbled New York strip beckoned from the case in the market and is used here rather than the flattened sirloin or tenderloin often called for. Aged and prime, it was a beautiful cut that didn’t deserve to be pounded flat.
Steak Diane comes together quickly so it pays to have an organized mise before starting. Also, as Franey’s warns, the accompanying dishes take longer than cooking the steak. Roasted potatoes are excellent side dish and should be started beforehand and keep warm in the oven until needed for the plate.
When preparing this dish I didn’t have a bottle of Bombay Dry Gin on hand to craft an extra dry Martini – up with a twist, please. It would have been the best possible pairing for a mid century inspired meal such as Steak Diane. Absent the Martini, serve the dish with any good red wine.
The recipe as described is for two, but I admit to making only a single serving when this recipe was documented. Yukon Gold potatoes par-boiled, roasted in duck fat with parsley and garlic are served as an accompaniment. I’m on a bit of a duck fat potato odyssey these days.
Steak Diane is a great dish for a simple, retro themed celebration. Make mine a double and Buon Appetito!
For the Steak
- 2 – 14 to 16 ounce New York Strip steaks well marbled
- Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons everyday extra virgin olive oil
- I medium shallot finely minced
- 2 large cloves of garlic finely minced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of Cognac
- 1 generous tablespoon of Dijon mustard (Maille Old Style Whole Grain preferred)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
For the Potatoes
- 4 to 6 small Yukon Gold potatoes cut in half lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons duck fat
- 3 cloves of mince garlic
- 1 generous handful of finely chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Steak
- Prepare the side dishes first and keep warm in the oven until needed.
- Prepare your mise en place by setting our measured amounts of the shallots, garlic, Cognac, mustard, heavy cream and parsley.
- Generously season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Bring a heavy pan (such as cast iron) to medium heat and add olive oil
- When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the steaks by laying it down front to back in order avoid splashing hot oil. For a steak cooked medium cook the steak for 4 minutes on the first side before turning and cooking 2 to 3 minutes more. Adjust the time for your preferred amount of doneness.
- Remove the steaks to a plate or small platter and set aside.
- Add the shallots to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add the Cognac to deglaze (flambé optional) and let cook until reduced by half letting the alcohol cook off.
- Add the mustard, heavy cream and most of the parsley. Stir until the mixture is evenly combined and taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Return the steaks to the pan to reheat for about 1 minute. Turn the steaks once while these are being reheated.
- Remove the steaks to serving plates, spoon the sauce over the top and garnish with the remaining parsley. Plate the potatoes alongside and serve.
For the Potatoes
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the dry saucepan over medium heat. Toss the potatoes in the dry saucepan for about 3 minutes to drive moisture away.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Place the potatoes in one layer in an ovenproof dish. Add duck fat, parsley and garlic tossing to coat. Place in the oven in the pan and roast for about 30 minutes while the steak is being prepared. About midway through, the roasting potatoes may be turned.
- Keep the potatoes warm in the oven until ready to serve. Place alongside the Steak Diane and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.