Recipes of the week: Two simple French classics for the home chef

Paul Bocuse has been called “the chef of the century” by the French food magazine Gault et Millau, said Leslie Brenner in the Los Angeles Times. His 1982 cookbook Bocuse in Your Kitchen has recently been reissued in English by Flammarion. “The recipes are mostly quite simple” and all belong in your basic kitchen repertoire. Bocuse’s variation on classic winegrower’s steak is to cook it in butter and to brown an unusually large amount of onion while it is resting. The “terrific” potato crepe looks complicated but could not be easier to make. Both recipes are adapted from Bocuse’s reissued cookbook, which is aptly subtitled “Simple French Recipes for the Home Chef.”

Recipes of the week

Steak Winegrower’s Style

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(Entrecôte vigneronne)

Note: Cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of each steak.

1 or 2 boneless rib-eye steaks

(about 1-3/4-inch thick, 1-3/4 pounds total)

3 shallots

1 medium onion

2 anchovy fillets

3-1/2 tbsp butter

Salt, pepper

1/2 cup red wine

Cut off excess fat from around steak. Finely chop shallots, onion, and anchovies. Place in bowl and reserve. Melt butter in large frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Salt and pepper steak on both sides, then place in pan. Cook steak for 6 minutes on each side for rare, 8 minutes on each side for medium rare. When done, lift meat from pan and keep warm while making sauce.

Stir chopped onion mixture into pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in wine, bring to boil; boil for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly; add salt and pepper if needed. Serve steak on hot platter and slice it at table with sauce on side; or slice meat, spoon a little sauce onto each dinner plate, place slices of steak on top, and serve with any extra sauce on side. Serves 4.

Potato Crepe

(Crique)

“Serve as a garnish with meat or as a light lunch,” Bocuse writes, “accompanied by a green salad flavored with a little garlic, if you like it, and an oil and vinegar dressing made with olive oil and seasoned with fine chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, etc.), depending on what’s in season.”

1 pound russet potatoes

1 egg

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

Wash potatoes, wipe dry, peel (do not wash after peeling, but wipe off with dry cloth if necessary). Using box grater, grate potatoes coarsely. Place in bowl with egg, salt, pepper; mix well. Do all this just before cooking them.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in 12-inch frying pan (preferably cast-iron). When it is very hot, add all grated potatoes and spread them out with prongs of fork, pressing down on them lightly to make a large crepe, or pancake, of even thickness. Cook over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until underside has browned, then slide crepe onto large plate. Place remaining oil in pan, then place second plate on top of crepe and turn it upside down. Lift off first plate and slide crepe back into pan to finish cooking 6 to 8 minutes on second side. Serve immediately. Serves 2 to 3.

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