What Is Steak Frites?
A fancy name for a steak with fried potatoes, steak frites, refers to beef steak with a side of French-fried potatoes. This dish is served in many variations in different regions and restaurants. It is commonly served with some type of gravy, sauce, or aioli. Steak frites is usually eaten in a restaurant, and is often served with a side of vegetables, usually fresh. This dish is served all around the world, but it is most popular in Belgium and France.
Restaurants generally choose to serve their own variations on this dish. The cut of beef steak used to make the dish can be almost anything, but the most common types of steak used in this dish include porterhouse, rib-eye, or flank steak. Though they can be cooked to taste for the diner, this dish is traditionally served with steak cooked to rare or medium rare. Though it can be cooked on a barbecue or grill, the steak is normally fried in a pan, often with butter or olive oil.
The French-fried potatoes in steak frites can differ in shape as well. They can be the thin shape like typical fast-food French fries, they can be thick like steak-cut fries, or they can be other shapes, like circles or wedges. Fries served are often fried twice for an extra crisp. They can also be seasoned, breaded, or beer-battered.
Steak frites can be served with sauce or without sauce. A common sauce used on steak frites is Bearnaise sauce, which is a creamy yellow sauce made with clarified butter, herbs, and egg yolks. Sauce can top the steak, cover the whole dish, or come served on the side. Whether it is sauced or unsauced, the steak in this dish is commonly topped with a pat of herb butter before serving. It is sometimes served with onion that has been softened in butter or salt and oil.
Since it has a deep, rich flavor and is typically somewhat heavy and oily with a creamy sauce, steak frites are most often accompanied by a dark and richly flavored wine, like Cabernet sauvignon or Merlot. A popular beer pairing with this dish is a beer with a lightly hop-laden kick, like a pale ale. The subtle bitterness of the red wine and pale ale help cleanse the palate between the heavy, buttery bites of steak and fries.
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