When Casey contacted me late last year about developing a recipe using Canadian Beef for Kitchen Play, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am so happy to be showcasing a local product but even more happy that it’s an ingredient you can buy all over the world so the recipe won’t be country-specific. When I was assigned the Amuse Bouche course, I was quite excited. I love small bites of a lot of dishes and, given the choice, I would choose many different “amuses” or appetisers over one large dish.
The inspiration for this dish comes from my time living in Paris. As a poor student, then teacher, I didn’t eat out all that often but when I did, I made sure to order beef. Living on my own in a tiny apartment with no proper kitchen, it was not something I cooked for myself so I treated myself in restaurants every now and then. My favourite dish of all time – and one I will still order whenever I see it on the menu – is Bavette à l’échalote – a flank steak served with a shallot/ red wine sauce which I always order with frites and a side order of haricots verts. Had I been given the main course for Kitchen Play, I would have made exactly that but the “amuse” allowed me to showcase this fabulous dish too – in one bite. I did not use flank steak for this recipe; I used a grilling medallion since it cuts cleaner for a more precise presentation.
It’s a simple enough dish in its original form with three main ingredients…
One bite steak with a frite and shallot jam (makes about 16 amuse bouche)
For the steak:
2 grilling medallions (around 100g each), cut in halves to make 4 rounds about 1/2 inch thick
Cut each round into quarters. Trim to the shape you like (I made squares but you can leave them as quarters if you like). Be sure to cut your beef so it *is* a bite. Grill (on a BBQ or in stove top grill pan) until cooked according to your preference. The beauty of this dish is that you can have some more well-done and others more rare – you can please every palate!
Shallot jam adapted from Food and Wine
Ingredients (makes about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 shallots, finely sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Melt the butter and oil in a small saucepan. Add shallots and thyme and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent, around 5 minutes. Add sugar, wine and vinegar and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the mix thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (20-30 minutes). Transfer the jam to a bowl and allow to cool.
* The jam can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For the frites:
3 medium sized potatoes, washed and cut into rounds – about 1/4 inch thick
oil for frying
Parboil the potato rounds. Place them in a bowl of very cold (ice) water and leave for 30 minutes. Drain well and place on paper towels, making sure to dry both sides. Heat about 2-3 inches of oil in a frypan or a saucepan until just smoking. Fry two rounds at a time to not crowd the pan. Remove when light golden brown and drain on paper towels. If you like your frites very crispy, you can fry them a second time. I found this helpful to make them a little sturdier so they could hold the topping.
Take one round of “frite” and smear a little of the shallot jam on. Place the cooked beef on top and sprinkle with a few fresh thyme leaves.
This is a flavourful little bite that showcases the rich flavours of the dish from which it is inspired perfectly. The best part of this? It’s tiny so you have room for more! Bon appétit!
Want to try this or other Canadian Beef recipes out for yourself? Canadian Beef is sponsoring a wonderful giveaway at Kitchen Play. Simply recreate any one recipe from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen Play to enter. All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win $100 (6 prizes total). This contest is open through February 28, 2011. Please review the complete contest rules before entering. Good luck!
If you are a blogger and are interested in participating in the Progressive Party series, visit Kitchen Play today.