Flap Steak with Shallots
Bavette à l'échalote
The unusual cut we call flap steak is called bavette d'aloyau in France. It is difficult to find in the United States, so you might try substituting skirt steak. An exceedingly tasty and juicy cut, it must be cooked rare or it becomes tough.
1.Remove the meat from the refrigerator 15 minutes in advance. Prepare a cooling rack over a large plate or set a small overturned plate on top of a large one.
2.Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. Put the butter in the skillet. When it foams, lay the steaks in the skillet, in a motion away from you. Sear the steaks over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn them and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Reduce the heat to very low and remove the meat to the rack. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper on both sides.
3.Add the shallots to the skillet and cook over the lowest possible heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. It is important that they not turn dark brown. When they are lightly colored, add the vinegar, turn the heat up just a little bit, and cook for 30 seconds. Season with a pinch of salt.
4.Put the steaks on a platter and pour the shallot sauce all over. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Potato and Leek Gratin
Gratin de pommes de terre et de poireaux
A mandoline will make slicing the potatoes easier, but you can also do it by hand.
1.Preheat the oven to 250°F and place a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
2.Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a saucepan. When it foams, add the leek and season with 1 pinch of salt and 1 dash of pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. The leek should not color.
3.In a bowl, combine the crème fraîche, 1 pinch of salt, 2 pinches of five-spice powder, and 1 dash of pepper.
4.Butter a baking dish. Put down one-third of the potatoes in a layer. Top with one-third of the potatoes in a layer. Top with one-third of the leeks and one-third of the seasoned crème fraîche. Repeat twice.
5.Pour 1 quart water into a deep sheet pan or dish large enough to accommodate the dish of potatoes and leeks. Put the gratin dish in the water and put both in the oven for 45 minutes.
Excerpted from The Complete Robuchon by Joel Robuchon. Copyright © 2008 by Joel Robuchon. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.