From America's Test Kitchen Season 7: Flambé at Home
For a different spin on the usual pan-seared steaks, we turn to the French classic, steak Diane. But the demanding rich sauce is based on an all-day veal stock reduction—then the steaks still have to be cooked (if you have the energy, that is), and the sauce completed. We aimed to determine the right cut of steak, create a lighter, less labor-intensive sauce, and find a foolproof method for cooking the meat. For a rich sauce base that mimics the complexity of labor-intensive veal stock in a fraction of the time, we used a flavorful combination of sautéed tomato paste, aromatics such as garlic, onion, and carrots, both beef broth and chicken broth, red wine, peppercorns, and herbs. Omitting the traditional cream allowed the sauce to fully develop in intensity, and the inclusion of cognac gave the sauce a slightly sweet, complex flavor. For the meat, we selected strip steaks for great beefy flavor and ease of preparation. To brown the steaks evenly and develop enough fond (the flavorful browned meaty bits that cling to the pan and give pan sauces their rich, meaty flavor), we weighted the steaks with a heavy-bottomed skillet when cooking the second side.
Serves 4 to 6
If you prefer not to make the sauce base, mix 1/2 cup glace de viande with 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup red wine and use this mixture in place of the base in step 4. For this recipe, use a traditional skillet. The steaks leave behind more fond (browned bits) than they do in a nonstick skillet, and more fond means a richer, more flavorful sauce. A superb embellishment for Steak Diane is a drizzle of white truffle oil just before serving. If you do not wish to flambé, simmer the cognac in step 2 for 10 to 15 seconds for a slightly less sweet flavor profile.