Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recipes by James W. Brady: French Style Steak; Pommes Frites; Pommes Soufflées

James W. Brady's French Style Steak

Select your favorite cut of steak (sirloin, filet). Do not salt steaks before cooking. Grill or pan-broil quickly.

To grill: Place steaks under gas or electric broiler. If possible, grill over live charcoal. Grill 3 to 4 minutes per side (depending on thickness of cut and desired doneness).

To pan-broil: Place a small piece of suet or melt a little butter in heavy frying pan. Pan-broil 2 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness and desired doneness. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and, if desired, a dash of lemon juice.

Serve with crisp, French green salad (endive, watercress and Bibb lettuce), lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. Delicious with a lovely red Bordeaux.

James W. Brady's Pommes Frites

6 large potatoes (baking potatoes preferably)
About 2 1/2 qts. peanut oil

Peel potatoes; wash and pat dry. Cut potatoes into strips approximately 1/2-inch thick. Heat peanut oil in deep fat fryer to 370 degrees F.

Fry small batches of potatoes 2 or 3 minutes, keeping temperature as constant as possible (electric deep fat fryer eliminates guesswork).

Drain potatoes on paper towels and keep in warm place. When all the potatoes have been fried, increase temperature to 385 degrees F. Return potatoes in larger batches to the oil, fry 2 minutes more or until golden brown. Drain and sprinkle with salt. Serves 6 to 8.

Thoughts: Select potatoes that are uniform in size and slice uniformly for best results. Peanut oil is the best to use for frying. If your pocketbook permits, fry each batch of potatoes in a new batch of peanut oil for maximum flavor.

James W. Brady's Pommes Soufflées

6 peeled baking potatoes, preferably Idahos
3 quarts peanut oil
2 deep fat fryers or electric skillets

Carefully slice potatoes into rectangular slices, 3 x 1 1/2 x 1/8-inch thick. Wash potatoes, dry thoroughly between double layers of paper towels.

For first frying: Heat half the oil to 285 degrees F. Place 6 to 8 slices in fry basket (potatoes will sink to bottom, then rise slowly to surface after a minute). Cook, agitating basket so slices cook on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes or until blisters begin to form on surface.

Transfer slices, one at a time, to second batch of oil, heated to 400 degrees F.; cook until slices puff up like cushions. Drain on paper. Continue cooking, using up remaining potatoes.

Final frying. Several minutes before you are ready to serve, drop 10 to 12 precooked slices into oil heated to 400 degrees F. Potatoes, which will have collapsed after second frying, will re-puff and brown on both sides in about 2 or 3 minutes.

Drain immediately on paper towels; salt. Delicious with steak or chops. Serves 6.

Thoughts: Preparing pommes soufflées is an art, but rewarding to the cook. Many people have never experienced the joy of consuming these airy, crisp potato delights. For real success, here are a few suggestions. Remember a few slices will always fail to puff during the first frying; set these aside -- they will almost always puff up in the final frying. Don't worry when potatoes collapse after first frying. They'll puff again after final frying. For "better" results, soak potato slices for about 10 minutes in cold water before frying (for the first time).

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