THIS VALENTINE’S DAY, EAT, DRINK, AND FALL IN LOVE WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE GODDESS OF THE HUNT
BY CHEF DAVID BURKE
Romance is back! This year give love all you’ve got on Valentine’s Day and make a romantic dinner for two to win your lover’s heart. My recipe for Steak Diane will do the trick. After all, Diane is the Goddess of the Hunt. It is simple enough to prepare, so you’re not slaving away in the kitchen all day (so you can spend more time with your luvah!). Two other super popular Valentine’s Day dishes for love birds at my restaurants are roast chicken and lobster, but let’s focus on Steak Diane. It is an upgraded version of a dish traditionally made with venison, a very lean meat, cooked hunter style. I use strip steaks, which are lean with some marbling. To make them tender, this recipes uses an easy-to-prepare sweet/sour sauce with mushrooms, butter, spicy peppercorns, and whole grain, and Dijon mustards. Together these ingredients make the steak tender and taste heavenly. It’s perfectly served with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
There are a lot of great retail butcher shops out there to purchase a good strip steak. Choice of prime grades are both fine for this recipe. Don’t use a more expensive dry-aged steak for this dish because you wouldn’t want to mask its naturally delicious mineral flavors with a sauce. The sauce in this case is an essential thing to hunt. It adds a little finesse to impress!
To create a romantic atmosphere consider tickling all your lover’s senses. Play some sexy music. Buy some flowers for your table. Light some candles. Use the money you saved from buying a prime steak instead of dry-aged, and invest in a special bottle of bold red wine (and yes, that means spending $20 plus) to show your sweetheart how much you care. Red wine is this dish’s best friend and will be yours too. If you’re a wine novice, ask the sales team at your favorite wine store to help you out. All of my restaurants can sell wines retail from their lists too (including my Red Horse Red from Sonoma).
Enjoy the recipe of the goddess here or leave the cooking to me and make a reservation at one of our restaurants. Some of them are serving a special called Goddess of the Hunt, an adaptation of my Steak Diane made with filet mignon.
4 Strip Steaks, about 5 5 1/2 ounces each
Coarse or Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 tablespoons clarified butter or olive oil
1 shallot minced
½ pound chanterelle mushrooms (white mushrooms may be used)
4 tablespoons red wine
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
1 ½ cup brown stock, dark chicken stock, or canned beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Heat clarified butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add steaks to pan and saute for about 3 5 minutes on each side, turning until both sides are nicely browned.
2. Remove Steaks from the pan and keep warm.
3. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add shallot and mushrooms, and sauté for 1-minute stirring.
4. Add red wine and red wine vinegar and peppercorns and cook over high heat, stirring until all but 1 tablespoon of the liquid has evaporated.
5. Add brown stock, dark chicken stock, or broth and reduce by half. Stir in tarragon salt and pepper. Whisk in butter and both mustards, or demi-glace. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat.
Yield: 4 6 servings
4 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
1. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and use a potato masher, food mill, fork, or food processor, and puree, adding all ingredients gradually.
2. If using a food processor put all ingredients in the processor bowl simultaneously and pulse the machine on and off quickly, or potatoes will have a gluey starchy consistency.
To build a dish:
Carve each steak into thin slices. Place potatoes in the center of the plate and fan meat around. Pour sauce over the meat.
by David Burke