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Playing With Fire - Steak Diane

I tend to distrust chefs who infomercial their way to riches. Emeril Lagasse is one of those chefs, for sure, but I can’t deny he’s a great cook and has some wonderful dishes.

This is a riff on one of them. I prefer thyme to parsley, and also like the steaks full size - he tends to cut his into medallions in this dish. But there’s nothing like cutting into a beautiful filet.

Steak Diane (allegedly named for the Roman goddess of the same name), was popular in the 50’s and was often done tableside because of the theatrics of flambéing tableside.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Two 6-ounce beef tenderloins

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick

1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup veal demiglace*

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon finely chopped scallions

1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, optional


* Veal demiglace is available at specialty food stores, Amazon and butcher shops. I wouldn’t skip it - it adds a richness to the sauce that makes it worth the effort to get.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large oven-proof skillet, melt butter with olive oil.

Season meat with salt and pepper and sear over high heat until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the filet over and place in the oven:

Medium-Rare1 3/4 inches 2 1/2 inches 11-12 minutes 13-14 minutes

Medium1 3/4 inches 2 1/2 inches 12-13 minutes 14-16 minutes

While the steak is cooking, add onion and garlic to a different skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds.

Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, add Cognac and carefully ignite it with a long match, or if you’re really good and have a gas stove, tip the pan so the flame on the stove catches the alcohol. I prefer a fireplace match.

When flames die down, add mustard and cream and stir over moderate heat for 1 minute.

Whisk in the veal demiglace, Worcestershire sauce, scallions and parsley and season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.

Remove the steaks from the oven and add any accumulated juices to the sauce. Plate the steaks after they’ve rested for 10 minutes and top with the sauce.

Try a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon with this dish. One of my favorites, and often on sale at Total Wine, is the 1858 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles.

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