Steak Frites with Lemon Aioli. I am not entirely sure what I enjoyed most, the tender juicy steak from Brasstown Beef cooked to the perfect rare plus, the homemade, crispy rosemary salted french fries, or the unbelievable lemon aioli. Which I not only used for the fries., but for sure, used for dunking my steak into several times!
This recipe is all about timing. Lucky for me…I got it spot on the first time! You want the fries warm and crispy and the steak super juicy when serving. Follow these steps and this should be no problem at all to achieve!
Let’s talk BEEF…I used these amazing steaks from a local ranch here in North Carolina…Brasstown Beef! I have highlighted them in a few other blogs…you need to check them out! Steve Whitmire is very committed to his animals and refers to himself as more of a grass farmer than a rancher. He and his cattle drink the same water! His beef is all natural, contains no hormones or antibiotics, and is, according to Steve, “always on grass.” You can purchase them locally at The Carolina Meat & Fish Co. or enjoy them in some of your favorite local eateries!
Remove your steaks from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature while you are preparing the other ingredients. Season both sides with kosher salt and pepper.
Scrub your potatoes…leave the skin on. Prepare your cold bath…I just added cold water and a bit of ice to a bowl. You are probably wondering how in the world did I get these fries cut so thin and perfect…it was a little bit of a mandolin and a little bit of me. Be very careful if you are using a mandolin…USE the guard…trust me! Select the slice blade, position it to 4.5 mm or 3/16. Start slicing your potatoes lengthwise. Take a knife and start cutting each potato slice into fries…I cut mine quite small (see photo). Immediately add the cut fries to the cold water. This will allow the potatoes to release most of their starch and lend to a super crispy fry. In order to achieve a true recipe for Steak Frites with Lemon Aioli, you need super crispy fries!
Heat up to 375 degrees enough canola oil in a heavy bottom pan…about three to four inches. Once all fries have been cut and soaked, drain and allow the potatoes to sit on paper towels for a few minutes to release most of the remaining water. Water and hot oil do NOT mix! Cut up your rosemary and reserve in a small bowl. As soon as the first batch of fries are done, you want to immediately salt and sprinkle them with the rosemary. Fry your first batch…it took me only two batches. While the first fry is going…this may take about 8 to 10 minutes to get a nice brown and crispy fry, heat up a cast iron pan to medium-high.
While the cast iron pan is heating, in a stainless steel bowl, start preparing the aioli. You can actually prepare this in advance of cutting your potatoes and place in fridge. I was lucky enough to have a helper in the kitchen to aid me in making the aioli. I used an immersion blender, but I would suggest if you don’t have a helper, use a blender. You can whisk by hand, but this will take about 10 minutes to get the perfect consistency. Oh, and your arm may fall off. Believe me, I started with a whisk and quickly switched to the immersion blender!
In the bowl, add the garlic. You can achieve a paste by smashing the garlic cloves with the back of a large knife. Use a bit of kosher salt to do this. The salt will act as an abrasive and make it easier to create a paste. Add to the bowl, the lemon juice, egg yolks, kosher salt, black pepper and dijon mustard. Blend everything together very well for about two minutes. Slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, start adding the olive oil. I suggest using a light olive oil because of the taste. A light olive oil will not give you a bitter tasting aioli. Add a bit of oil. Blend. A bit more oil. Blend. A bit more oil. Blend. You get the idea. The aioli will start to come together nicely. Remember this will be used as a dipping sauce for the frites. It will not be as thick as a mayo. It should have the consistency of a ranch dressing. Add the lemon zest and reserve.
Remove the first fry by using a slotted spoon or spider strainer. Try to release as much oil back into the pot as possible. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle immediately with the salt and rosemary. Fry the final batch.
As the final batch of fries are working. Remove the hot cast iron pan from the heat. Place two tablespoons of the butter in the pan and allow to melt and become foamy. Place pan back on heat and add the steaks. Sear both sides for about two to three minutes each for the perfect rare plus. Sear a few minutes more per side if you enjoy your steaks at a warmer temperature. When steaks are almost at your preferred temperature. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Remove from pan and allow to rest for at least five minutes before you slice. Slicing the steaks too soon will cause all of the juice to run out and make for a dry steak! You may want to check out my recipe for The Perfect Steak.
Remove your final fry in the same bowl as the first…toss with more rosemary and salt. Slice your steak and top with a few handful of the amazing fries. Serve with a side of the lemon aioli…ENJOY this fabulous recipe for Steak Frites with Lemon Aioli.