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Steak with Shallot-Red Wine Sauce (Bifteck Marchand de Vin)

Steak with Shallot-Red Wine Sauce (Bifteck Marchand de Vin)
On a cold spring day in Paris many years ago, cookbook author Georgeanne Brennan met an old friend at La Muette metro stop at noon. Her friend took her off down the busy street to a very Parisian restaurant where they were ushered to one of the very best tables. They had oysters with a glass of Champagne, followed by bifteck marchand de vin and a velvety Bordeaux. It was a wonderful lunch, and Brennan cannot see the words bifteck marchand de vin without experiencing again her delight that day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 rib steaks, each 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

Trim the steaks of excess fat. Pat them dry and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and thyme, pressing the seasonings into both sides.

Heat a heavy nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbs. of the butter. When it has melted and is near sizzling, put the steaks in the pan and sear them, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare; the timing will depend upon the thickness of the steaks and the desired amount of doneness. Keep the heat high, but do not let the fat burn. Test for doneness by cutting into one of the steaks. When they are ready, transfer them to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil while you prepare the sauce.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the pan juices. Set the pan over medium heat and add the shallots. Sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Cook until the wine is reduced by half and the mixture has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter.

Pour the hot sauce over the steaks, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 2.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring France, by Georgeanne Brennan (Time-Life Books, 1999).