I have been thinking about steak recipes with pedigree and history, such Steak au Poivre, Steak with Sauce Bordelaise and Steak Florentine, and the words Steak Diane popped into my brain. I had no idea what it even was. So I looked it up, finding a bunch of versions in my ever-growing collection of classic old cookbooks.
There was nothing about the recipes that wouldn’t appeal today, even though Steak Diane has fallen off the popular-steak radar. The sauce contains one or more types of wine and/or booze (I saw everything from Madeira to Marsala to sherry to cognac and brandy to regular red wine) and some spices. Most Steak Diane recipes contained Worcestershire sauce as well, which I am rediscovering as one of my go-to ingredients as the weather gets cooler. Also, some member of the onion family (I picked shallots) and some herbs, usually simple greens like parsley or chives.
The origin of the name is unclear (it’s possibly linked to Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt). Traditionally, the cut of beef used for Steak Diane is very thin (often pounded to be so). I’ll try that some time, but I wanted to see how to pull these flavours onto a big, fat, juicy steak, and I picked a couple of nice, 1-inch-thick strip steaks as my canvas.
During the height of its popularity, Steak Diane was often flambed tableside when served at fancy restaurants. I love to wow my family, but I think they all agree that having me flambe anything tableside is probably not a great idea.
Serve it with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or maybe potato gratin if you want to go all in, or all out as the case may be. Hey, if there is ever a moment to go all-somewhere it’s when you’re serving up some serious steak. Creamed spinach as another side? Or maybe just saut√©ed green beans with a bit of garlic ‚Äî we can show a tiny bit of restraint.
Double this recipe as you wish.
STRIP STEAK DIANE
Start to finish: 20 minutes
2 6-ounce 1-inch-thick strip steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
1 or 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the steaks, and sear for about 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned on the outside and cooked to your liking, about 125 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature for rare, 135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent them with foil. Pour off any remaining fat from the skillet, but do not clean the skillet.
Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the shallots for 4 minutes, until golden brown and tender. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, red wine and cognac (be careful, the liquor can ignite) and stir, scraping up any little browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the sauce to reduce a bit, just one minute, then taste and season as needed. Stir in the parsley.
Slice the steaks and transfer them to a serving plate, or serve each steak on an individual plate with the desired side dishes. Drizzle the sauce over the steak and serve.