Mastering the Art of French Eating now in paperback (and a recipe for steak-frites!)

Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah on eatlivetravelwrite.comSome of you might remember how excited I was for my friend Ann‘s book, Mastering the Art of French Eating when it was published late last year. Now I’m excited to let you know that it’s is available in paperback!  It’s the book I recommend to anyone interested in food and France as the one guide book they must read before they travel there!

Ann’s done her research about French food, that’s for sure!  The book focuses on Ann’s attempt to build a life for herself in France whilst her husband is off in Iraq.  She becomes intent on learning all about French cuisine, in a fashion not-unlike Julia Child who set about, well, mastering the art of French cooking!  Ann takes us on a journey around France (10 different regions) as she researches the signature dishes of those areas.  She was fastidious in her research (it’s a tough job, right, but someone has to do it!) and painstaking in her attempts to reproduce those dishes once back in her own kitchen.  The result is part French cookbook, part travel guide, part memoir – basically a book you won’t want to put down and one you will want to read over and over again. I have the advance copy still on my iPad over 18 months later and I can’t bring myself to delete it. Because it means no matter where I am, I will always have something great to read!

I mean, who doesn’t go to Paris and not want to know where the best steak-frites is to be found? I’m a huge fan and it’s one of the meals I *always* order when I eat out in Paris. It can’t be beat.

Dorie Greenspan Bistrot Paul Bert steakAnd it doesn’t matter how much I try, it’s hard to recreate that Paris experience at home…

Grilled steak with oven baked home fries and homemade mayonnaise Mardi Michels eatlivetravelwrite.comAnn Mah understands this, which is 1. why she’s my friend and 2. why she’s written a fabulous recipe which I have the good fortune to be allowed to reprint here!

Steak frites in Paris on eatlivetravelwrite.com

(photo by Ann Mah, used with permission)

When you close your eyes and think of the quintessential Paris meal, what comes to mind? For me, it’s always been steak-frites, a juicy hunk of meat accompanied by a pile of fries so hot they sting your fingers.

This recipe for skirt steak with shallots is my interpretation of a set of loose instructions given to me by William Bernet, a former butcher and owner of Le Severo, a steak restaurant in Paris. Bernet ages his own beef, well-marbled cuts that have been hung in a dry, chilled space for weeks or months. The process concentrates the meat’s flavor and breaks down its connective tissues so that it becomes buttery and tender. At Bernet’s restaurant, most of the meat arrives sauce-free. This recipe is one of the few exceptions.

Bavette aux echalotes

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Classic French steak with shallot sauce.

Yields 2


    For the steak

    • 1 skirt steak, 9 to 10 ounces, patted dry
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 tablespoon mild-tasting oil such as sunflower or grape seed

    For the sauce

    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth or beef stock or water


    1. Preparing the steak:
    2. Trim the steak of excess fat and season with salt and pepper.
    3. Place the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
    4. Test the heat of the pan by touching a wooden spoon to the oil—if the oil is hot, it will lightly sizzle.
    5. Place the steak in the pan.
    6. Cook for 2 minutes, until the underside is well seared and browned.
    7. Turn the steak and cook the second side for 40 to 50 seconds, or until medium rare. (Skirt steak is a thin cut, and the meat cooks very quickly.)
    8. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with a tent of foil, and keep warm while you make the sauce.
    9. Making the sauce:
    10. In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter with the meat drippings.
    11. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
    12. Add the red wine vinegar, thyme, and stock (or water), and bring the liquid to a boil.
    13. Cover and cook until the shallots have softened and the liquid has almost disappeared.
    14. Swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter and add any juices released from the meat.
    15. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, adding a few drops of vinegar if needed.
    16. Slice the steak against the grain into thin strips.
    17. Serve with the shallots spooned on top, accompanied by mashed potatoes or steamed green beans.


    Hungry for more? Check out Ann’s Where to eat in France series. Warning – you’ll be wanting to pack your bags after you read it!
    Buy Mastering the Art of French Eating on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

    Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!


    Win a copy of Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating (Canada/US) (closed)!

    That’s right – thanks to the kind folks at Penguin Paperbacks, I have one paperback copy of Mastering the Art of French Eating up for grabs for readers in the US and Canada.

    To enter:

    1. Leave a comment below telling me which one of the recipes featured in the book would you like to try and why?

    Andouillette (tripe sausages!)
    Salade Lyonnaise (salad with perfectly soft boiled eggs)
    Soupe au Pistou
    Boeuf Bourguignon
    Aligot (a dish made with mashed potatoes, melted cheese, garlic and crème fraîche)

    2. For a bonus entry, tweet the following message:

    Enter to win @annmahnet’s Mastering the Art of French Eating (paperback) on @eatlivtravwrite from @PenguinPbks  http://bit.ly/11x7bVO

    Then come back to leave me a comment telling me you did.

    Eligibility and contest rules

    • Open to to Canadian and US residents only.
    • No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
    • Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all qualified entries on Tuesday November 25th 2014 after 6pm EST.
    • Winner will be contacted via email on Wednesday November 26th 2014 and will have 48 hours to respond.


    Disclosure: Pamela Dorman Books provided me with a review copy of Mastering the Art of French Eating. I was not required to post about this, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are my own.

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    31 Responses to Mastering the Art of French Eating now in paperback (and a recipe for steak-frites!)

    1. Hannah November 18, 2014 at 09:03 #

      Aligot! I love potatoes, CHEESE, crème fraiche, and garlic. Sounds delicious

    2. jan November 18, 2014 at 09:16 #

      Steak-frites would be the first recipe I’d start with… hard choice!

    3. Elin November 18, 2014 at 13:22 #

      Soupe au Pistou, simply because it is so cold where I’m at today, it’s only about 16 degrees out and soup of any kind sounds ideal.

    4. Carol M. November 18, 2014 at 13:42 #

      Cassoulet as I’ve always wanted to try to make it at home.

    5. Ann Mah November 18, 2014 at 15:25 #

      Thanks for this lovely post, Mardi! I can’t wait to eat steak and drink wine together, one day soon! xo

    6. Bridget November 18, 2014 at 15:40 #

      I would love to try several recipes, but today I am choosing Fondue as I am missing the delicious fondue I had in the Swiss Alps last year. ♥

    7. Della Taraska November 18, 2014 at 16:22 #

      I would love to try the Boeuf Bourguignon. 🙂

    8. Della Taraska November 18, 2014 at 16:26 #

      I tweeted: Enter to win Mastering the Art of French Eating in paperback by @annmahnet from @eatlivtravwrite + @PenguinPbks ! http://bit.ly/11x7bVO

    9. Susan Carter November 18, 2014 at 16:28 #

      I’d like to try cassoulet – love it and have always wanted to make it myself but never got around to it. I think Ann’s book will spur me on.

    10. Traci Ross November 18, 2014 at 16:49 #

      I loooove cassoulet and would love to be able to make it at home! I know it will be worth the effort!

    11. suzi November 18, 2014 at 22:46 #

      Crêpes because I have a friend who is a french teacher and I know she knows how to make these so I’d like to suprise her by showing her I can make them too! 🙂

    12. Auntiepatch November 19, 2014 at 03:06 #

      I’ve always wanted to try Crêpes!

    13. Auntiepatch November 19, 2014 at 03:08 #

      I left a tweet – Auntiepatch

    14. Adrienne November 19, 2014 at 05:20 #

      Cassoulet! The ultimate winter comfort food!

    15. Gail November 19, 2014 at 15:24 #

      Soupe au pistou is my absolutely favorite soup. I make it throughout the year…even in summer!

    16. Coco in the Kitchen November 19, 2014 at 19:19 #

      Reminds me of the classic steak-frites my hubby & I had somewhere near the Eiffel Tower years ago after he proposed.

      What a fairy-tale trip that was.
      The next day, we strolled around the Louvre, then had a simple, but delicious ham sandie at a diner across the way.

      What a beautiful book and such a lovely recipe.
      I will have to get my own copy from Santa. 😉

    17. Pamela November 19, 2014 at 21:15 #

      I will try the steak frites and boeuf bourguignon. There’s nothing like the steak frites in Paris. It’s one of a kind.

    18. Pamela November 19, 2014 at 21:31 #

      Have tweeted.

    19. Jessica November 20, 2014 at 00:04 #

      I would love to try the Aligot- it sounds right up my alley!

    20. Derek November 20, 2014 at 11:02 #

      Aligot (a dish made with mashed potatoes, melted cheese, garlic and crème fraîche)

      Something new to try!

    21. Heather November 21, 2014 at 08:17 #

      Aligot – sounds decadent! Oh heck – I want to try everything!

    22. Terry November 21, 2014 at 20:48 #

      Aligot (a dish made with mashed potatoes, melted cheese, garlic and crème fraîche) Sounds fantastic! Always nice to have a fresh look at an old friend.

    23. Terry November 21, 2014 at 20:50 #

      I’ve Tweeted the message about the contest.

    24. Marlene November 22, 2014 at 07:37 #

      That soupe au pistou is calling my name. I’m a lover of soup year-round, and would like to try this quintessential French dish.

    25. Tracey November 22, 2014 at 09:23 #

      I would love to try making Crêpes since I already know I love eating them. 🙂

    26. Tracey November 22, 2014 at 09:25 #

      I tweeted: https://twitter.com/yyz_talk/status/536163385952731136

    27. Edna November 24, 2014 at 07:11 #

      Fondue! Since I’ve already tried Ann’s crepe recipe and I haven’t eaten anything else for lunch or dinner in two weeks…

    28. Heather F November 24, 2014 at 21:04 #

      The Aligot.Sounds like true comfort food!

    29. Jody November 24, 2014 at 23:16 #

      Steak-frites – a classic and perfect dish

    30. Annette November 25, 2014 at 14:02 #

      The first thing I’d like to learn to make: Crêpes. This is one of my favorite things to order (both savory and sweet), but have always been afraid of making them.

    31. Annette November 25, 2014 at 14:02 #

      Here’s my tweet: https://twitter.com/ThatTuxedoCat/status/537320039322357761

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