Sometimes, I really miss Paris.
I’ve visited Paris a few times in my life, and I consider myself oh-so-lucky to have done so.
There’s something magical about the City of Lights. I don’t know if it’s the music in the streets, the gorgeous architecture, or the food that makes it such an incredible place to be.
Okay, let’s be real. It’s definitely the food that makes it the best.
From croissants to macarons, quiche to croque monsieurs, and most importantly, steak frites, there are so many delectable options to choose from.
The first time I ever had steak frites was in a tiny cafe close to the Sacre Coeur. We had just climbed all the way up to take in the sights of Paris from the top of all those steps. My friends and I were exhausted, hot, and starving.
As we made our way back down through the winding stairway and streets, we saw a little cafe with adorable tables on the patio, and an advertisement for a special on wine.
Obviously, we stopped. And it was there, as we sat down and broke out the menus, that I smelled a plate of something delicious pass by.
When I looked up, I saw a giant platter piled up with fries and a juicy meat go flying by my face.
All I could say in that moment was, “I need that immediately.”
The flavor of that plate of steak frites changed my life. The meat was perfectly cooked and topped with a homemade compound butter that melted in to add even more delicious flavor on top.
If you haven’t hopped on the compound butter train yet, this is the time to do so.
Making herbed compound butter is such an easy task, and it makes for a handy condiment to have in the refrigerator to use with a variety of dishes.
It works fantastically for this recipe, but it can also enhance a variety of different meats and types of seafood, like this grilled lobster tail with compound herb butter.
I mean, butter makes everything better, so wouldn’t butter that is enhanced with garlic and herbs be even better than that?
I say yes. Correction, I shout yes from the rooftops because it is the ultimate truth.
Then you pair all of this flavor and richness with a heaping side of crispy, golden brown frites (aka fries). That’s where you get the textural differences that make this dish really shine.
The crunch of the potato with the supple beef is just the right combination. It takes the basic concept of steak and potatoes to a whole new level that will change your life. Like that time I made steak and potato pizza!
I’m not kidding. The truth is, it’s pretty amazing how a simple cooking method and the addition of some herbs and garlic can make a classic dish so much more flavorful.
So when you bring out this recipe, be sure to grab a glass or two and a bottle of red wine, and put on some music. Pretend that you are sitting in a cafe on the streets of Paris.
Immerse yourself in the full relaxation of the moment, and soak in the flavors that jump off the plate.
You’ll feel like you are on vacation in no time.Print
It’s easy to transport yourself to a Parisian cafe when you whip up this recipe for steak frites. The herb compound butter makes it even better.
For the Compound Butter:
- 1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
For the Fries:
- 6 medium-sized Russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
- Cooking oil spray
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
For the Steak:
- 4 8-ounce steaks (ribeye or NY strip)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To Prepare the Compound Butter:
- Place butter, herbs, and garlic in a small bowl. Using a fork, cut the herbs and the garlic into the butter to mix together all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
To Prepare the Fries:
- Slice potatoes into thin strips, or thicker wedges if you prefer something more like steak fries. It’s best if they are all similar in size so they will cook evenly.
- Place into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475˚F and spray a heavy baking sheet with cooking spray. Place 3 tablespoons vegetable oil onto the baking sheet and distribute evenly to cover the surface entirely. Set aside.
- After the potatoes have soaked, drain thoroughly and rinse to remove excess starch, using a colander. Place potatoes onto paper towels and pat dry. Wipe out the bowl with a towel and return potatoes to the bowl.
- Add remaining vegetable oil, salt, and pepper to potatoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes out on the greased baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place on the lowest oven rack to bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove foil and continue baking for 15 minutes.
- Turn the potatoes over with a metal spatula and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, or until crispy. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
To Prepare the Steak:
- Brush each side of the steaks with olive oil, using about 2 tablespoons total. Sprinkle each side evenly with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy skillet with a fitted lid over medium heat until shimmering. Place steaks in the skillet, working in batches if necessary. Cook for 4 minutes or until browned on one side, then turn the steaks over and cover with a lid. Cook 3-4 more minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve each steak with 1 tablespoon of herb butter on top. Pile fries onto plates alongside the steak and serve.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Stovetop, Baking
- Cuisine: French Fries
Keywords: steak frites, French fries
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Chop Herbs, Mince Garlic, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Chop enough parsley leaves until you have 1 teaspoon total.
Chop enough basil leaves until you have 1 teaspoon total.
Peel and mince one clove of garlic, or push it through your garlic press.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Compound Butter
Add the softened unsalted butter, herbs, and garlic to a small bowl. Use a fork to cut the herbs and garlic into the butter. Mix together until thoroughly incorporated.
Cover the butter with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
You can make the compound butter up to one day ahead of time, if desired.
Step 3 – Prepare and Bake Fries
Scrub the potatoes well. Slice the potatoes into thin strips or thicker wedges if you prefer something more like steak fries.
If you are cutting them into thicker wedges, you will need to add about 5 minutes to the cooking time. Make sure they are all the same size to ensure even cooking time. A perfectly sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board will help with this!
Add the potatoes to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 475˚F. Spray a heavy baking sheet with cooking spray. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the baking sheet and distribute it evenly to cover the pan.
Drain the potatoes and rinse to remove any excess starch. Transfer the potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels and pat dry. Wipe out the bowl with a paper towel and add the potatoes back to the bowl.
Add the remaining vegetable oil, salt, and pepper (freshly cracked, please and thank you!) to the potatoes. Toss to coat.
Add the potatoes to a baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer. Cover with aluminum foil and place on the lowest oven rack for 10 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes. Turn the potatoes over, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4 – Make Steak
While the fries are cooking, make the steak.
Brush both sides of the beef with oil, about 2 tablespoons total. Sprinkle both sides evenly with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil for the steak in a large, heavy skillet with a fitted lid over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, place the steaks in the skillet, working in batches if you need to.
Cook for about 4 minutes or until browned on one side, then turn the steaks over and cover the pan. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
How well done do you like your steak? Get out your meat thermometer, and keep these temperature guidelines in mind when you check for doneness:
- Medium Rare – 130-135˚F
- Medium – 135-145˚F
- Well – 145-155˚F
- Well Done – 155-165˚F
Step 5 – Finish Dish
Let the meat rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes before serving.
Serve each steak with a tablespoon of herb butter on top. Pile fries onto plates alongside the steak.
What’s the Best Skillet to Cook a Steak In?
Why? The heavy pan retains heat well, and it distributes the heat evenly throughout the cooking process. This helps to create a nice crust all over the meat.
Since the steak is cooking in its own fat, I think it’s even better than grilling. You get so much more flavor this way. Not to mention, you won’t risk scorching because of flare-ups or hot spots on the grill. You can save the grill for more suitable recipes like my steak pinwheels or marinated tri-tip.
Need more beef recipes in your life? Check out some of these Foodal favorites next:
Do you use a cast iron skillet for cooking steak? If so, tell us about it in the comments below! Which is your favorite to cook with? Be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you’ve tried it as well.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 18, 2011. Last updated August 28, 2020.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.