Total time:35 minutes
I turned to the internet, my collection of cookbooks, and other culinary writers and friends. That’s when Suzy Fleming Leonard, food editor at Florida Today, reminded me that Chef Scott Earick frequently serves the dish at Scott’s on Fifth, his restaurant in Indialantic, Florida. “It’s so good,” she said.
Having eaten there, I knew his food was great, so I gave him a call. It turned out that he was planning to visit the district with his husband, so he agreed to visit our food lab and teach me how to do it.
“It’s one of the most popular dishes on my menu,” said Earick, a self-taught chef with a long-standing interest in old-school dishes. “I’m not into fad food. Many chefs enjoy trying to reinvent the wheel. You cannot reinvent the wheel. You have to play with the wheel.
“The hardest thing about performing the classics is that it has to be the same every time you do it,” he said. Diners know what to expect, so you have to deliver.
“I have people who come back every year for their holidays,” he said of his 17-year-old business near the beach and the Space Coast, which attracts travelers from all over the world. Steak Diane started out as a special. “I was taking a little steak with the sauce into the dining room, a little flavor, and they were like, ‘I’m going to have it.’ ”
Earick’s version is quite simple. He sears the steak in a skillet, pulls it out, and uses that juice to lightly cook the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. He adds a drop of brandy or cognac, which he ignites for just a minute on the stove. (You can skip both the alcohol and the flame and your sauce will still be delicious.)
Then, rather than using demi-glace, a concentrated broth that is reduced until it becomes a dark brown meat-flavored sauce, Earick finagles that rich flavor with pantry-friendly ingredients, including beef stock, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard and A.1. Sauce. The sauce is finished off with a little heavy cream and, just before serving, the steaks are returned to the pan to warm up and cook to the desired doneness. Not intimidating at all.
“It’s very accessible dinner food,” Earick said, because a home cook could sear the steaks and prepare the sauce before guests arrive, adding the steaks to the sauce and reheating them just before to serve.
If you can afford it, he highly recommends using filet mignon medallions. Alternatively, he suggests pan-fried chicken cutlets. Its rich and savory sauce is also tasty over egg noodles, potatoes and rice.
When I noticed how comfortable Earick was showing me how to make the dish, he explained that he loves teaching and also loves an audience. Born in Hollywood, the son of a stuntman who later helped promote a famous brand of cheese, Earick was featured on a bit of a detective show in Italy and created a popular local cooking show, “Capital Dish”, aired in the early 2000s in Tallahassee.
When the pandemic hit and he was forced to temporarily close his restaurant, he posted those old shows on his Facebook page, hoping to keep a connection with his regulars. When they understood, he decided to go live on social media site. Enlisting her husband, Hank Huston, to be her cameraman, he did live broadcasts of 20 to 30 minutes at 6:30 p.m.. for 85 consecutive days.
“I had a captive audience,” he said. “They were stuck in their homes. All of a sudden, here’s this guy toasting you at 6:30 p.m. They were connecting from Europe, from Hong Kong, because we were all in the same boat.
Earick and Leonard have transformed the recipes presented into a self-published cookbook, “It’s 6:30!”
“When we go out, people still to this day, people still say, ‘Oh my God, it’s you. I can’t believe how much you saved me. It was upbeat and not so heavy when the world was so heavy.
“I really love what I do,” he said. “And that show is probably one of the things I’m most proud of.”
Storage: Refrigerate sauce and steak separately for up to 3 days.
REMARKS: This dish is usually served with tender cuts of beef, such as filet mignon. If you prefer, you can serve this sauce over pan-fried chicken cutlets. Place each cutlet between two pieces of parchment paper and use a heavy skillet or rolling pin to pound until 1/4 inch thick. Pan-fry the cutlets in the oil and butter until the outside is golden brown and the inside is cooked through (165 degrees), 2 to 4 minutes on each side. Then continue with the rest of the recipe.
Earick adds brandy to the sauce and flambe it, but you can omit it if you prefer.
If serving with potatoes, place 1 pound potatoes in a pot with just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, adding a pinch of salt if desired, and boil until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a thin skewer or paring knife, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot with 2 tbsp butter and 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and toss until well coated. If desired, use a fork or potato masher to mash them until they’re as large as you’d like. Taste and add more butter, salt or pepper, to taste.
If you’re serving it with rice, you’ll need about 2 cups of cooked rice. For long-grain white rice, rinse 2/3 cup rice until water runs clear. Then, place it in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and toss to coat the rice. Add 1 1/3 cups of water and a pinch of salt, if desired, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.
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- 4 top round steaks (4 ounces), trimmed of visible fat (see NOTES)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 tablespoon sweet onion or shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced or finely grated
- 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac (optional)
- 1/2 cup no salt added beef broth
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon steak sauce, preferably A.1. Mark
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving (can substitute 1 tsp dried)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Fine salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Cooked rice or mashed potatoes, for serving (see NOTES)
Prepare the steak: wipe the steaks dry and season them lightly with pepper. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil and butter until the butter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the steaks and sear, turning only once halfway through, until nicely browned, about 4 minutes total for medium-rare. (The steak will cook for another 3 minutes in the sauce.) Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Prepare the sauce: Return the pan to medium heat and add the mushrooms, onion and garlic and cook in the juices of the steak, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms just begin to soften and release their liquid, about 3 minutes.
Add brandy or cognac, if using, then gently ignite with a long match or flame lighter, gently shaking the pan until the flame goes out (see NOTES).
Add the broth, mustard and Worcestershire and steak sauces, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, and stir until well combined. Stir in heavy cream and cook until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add parsley and garlic powder, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes. Taste, and season with salt or pepper, to taste.
Return the steaks, along with any accumulated juices, to the pan, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, turning the meat to coat, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meat is warmed through. about 3 minutes.
To serve, transfer steaks to warmed serving plates. Drizzle with some of the sauce and sprinkle with fresh parsley, if desired. Serve with rice or potatoes, if desired.
Per serving (1 steak, 3/4 cup cognac sauce)
Calories: 304; Total fat: 15 g; Saturated fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 98mg; Sodium: 579mg; Carbohydrates: 7g; Dietary fibre: 1 g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 29g
This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.
Adapted from chef Scott Earick of Scott is on the Fifth in Indialantic, Florida.
Tested by Ann Maloney; questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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