Maille’s Honey Balsamic Dijon Charbroiled Flank Steak with Rosemary

RECIPE: Honey Balsamic Dijon Charbroiled Flank Steak with Rosemary

Honey Balsamic Dijon Bavette 2My mother and step-father rent a little place in the south of France for a few weeks more summers than not, and Mr. English and I make a point to save up our vacation to spend it there with them.  While we have officially stationed ourselves in one Provence or Riviera town or another, wherever our rental may be, these annually anticipated days are filled with wanderlust as we shuttle en famille between seaside towns and mountain perches, eschewing the glamorous hotspots for a daily search for traditional local eateries.  That is how we discovered bavette at one such establishment called Coquelicot somewhere in the vicinity of Cap d’Antibes or Juan les Pins.

Bavette is what we call flank steak, which after filet is my favorite cut for steak.  I love it spice-crusted and grilled in tacos.  Or marinated and seared.  Or, as it is here, flavored and broiled.  It’s quick and easy, but tender and flavorful, and blessedly inexpensive.

In France, it is found in simple restaurants served with caramelized shallots and a haystack of salty, crispy frites that luxuriate in the onion jus.  I like it better when it’s good and flavored up with bold tastes.

Honey Balsamic Dijon Bavette 1Maille mustard, which I’ve touted on this site as being our ‘family’ mustard many times, have recently given me access to the breadth of their mustard library, and I think my favorite, aside from the classics, has to be the honey balsamic Dijon.  It’s a ‘black’ mustard that has the sweetness and spice of their top-notch honey mustard, but with the thick tang of balsamic built in, and a stunning color.  Here, it forms the base of a thick marinade-crust that goes on our bavette, along with wholegrain mustard, fresh rosemary (rosemary and mustard are like Frog and Toad—a wonderfully gentle but symbiotic relationship), and garlic.  Then, just ten minutes under the broiler, a sharp knife, and a drizzle of really great, thick balsamic, and you have this French-Italian hybrid steak that’s perfect with grilled vegetables or sandwiches between some pillowy slices of focaccia.

Mr. English shamelessly put away the whole thing in less than the time it took to cool.  Bon app!

P.S. A great thing to do is to save a spoonful of marinade and toss it with a bunch of thick asparagus.  While the steak is resting, throw the asparagus under the broiler for five minutes for the perfect side dish.

Honey Balsamic Dijon Asparagus

Il n’y a que Maille qui m’aille…

Maille_Honey Dijon with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Small

Honey Balsamic Dijon Charbroiled Flank Steak with Rosemary
serves 2 to 4

Honey Balsamic Dijon Bavette 2INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons Maille balsamic honey Dijon mustard, courtesy of Maille
  • 1 tablespoon Maille wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced or grated
  • 1-pound flank steak / bavette
  • Salt and pepper
  • Good, aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling

METHOD

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustards, olive oil, rosemary, and garlic.  Spoon it into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and add the steak.  Massage the marinade all over the meat, and then leave in the fridge for a minimum of two hours up to overnight.

Position the rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the broiler.  To speed cleanup, I line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil, and then cut a piece of parchment just large enough to go under the steak to place on the foil.  But you can skip the lining step.  Place the marinated steak on the baking sheet and season both sides very well with salt and pepper.  Broil 4 to 5 minutes on each side for a medium steak.  Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice against the grain.  I go for thick slices if I’m serving it as a steak, and thin if I’m serving it as a sandwich.  Drizzle with good, thick, aged balsamic vinegar (just a bit) and garnish with fresh rosemary.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Cheap, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Meat, Recipes
 

It’s Been Sweet

DailyCandy LogoI just wanted to take a moment to say thank you and goodbye to DailyCandy, closing down today after fourteen years of filling our inbox with local antidotes to ennui.

When I was twenty-three and just a few months out of college, they offered me my first freelance writing job.  Having a big name on my resume gave me my start, and what I remember most about my early twenties was a roaring wish that someone would give me a chance.  DailyCandy and my fabulous editor Jeralyn, who you can now find at Fathom, did.  I wrote a handful of stories for the New York edition, and then years later, they featured this blog and my recipes for Croque Monsieur, Strawberry Ice Cream Profiterole Sundaes, and Frozen Kir Royale on the Everywhere edition.

I know I speak for many when I say that not only was DC a fun little sweet to get in your inbox, but it allowed so many of us to get our work out to those who, hopefully, wanted to find it.  It gave the first spark to my career, great experience, fun projects, and friends that I have nearly a decade later.  Nothing gold can stay, all good things must come to an end, and all that.  But from me, a humble thanks.

Here, some links to my original stories, and following, the videos for the recipes featured for Bastille Day.  Bon app.  Merci et adieu!

Kick It

The Chocolate Manifesto

Seeing Green

Modern Marvel

Croque Monsieurs

Strawberry Ice Cream Profiterole Sundaes

Frozen Kir Royale

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French Revolution’s Très Cool Frozen Kir Royales for DailyCandy

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French Revolution’s Killer Croque Monsieurs for DailyCandy

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French Revolution’s Strawberry Ice Cream Profiterole Sundaes for DailyCandy

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Whole Roast Fish for Two with Mushroom-Truffle Pesto and Crispy Roasted Wild Mushrooms for Two

RECIPE: Whole Roast Fish for Two with Mushroom-Truffle Pesto and Crispy Roasted Wild Mushrooms

Whole Roasted Bream with Mushroom PestoMy husband and I have a favorite restaurant in London that absolutely no one knows about.  Except the locals and regulars we see when we are there.  But our ‘set’, so to speak, has never heard of it.  We ferry over very special ones when we feel like sharing.

Why do we love it?  Its completely unpretentious location?  Well, frankly, I wouldn’t mind if that improved.  The otherworldly amaretto sours (yes, I said amaretto sours) made with the fresh juice of an entire lemon?  That’s definitely part of it.  But actually, it is what I already mentioned: sharing.

The menu changes daily, and there’s only about three or four appetizers, mains, and desserts to choose from—all seasonal and fabulous—on the printed paper menu.  But the secret is to look up to the chalkboard on the wall.  I never let us arrive after 8, or we risk the dreaded chalk line through one of the specials—the menu equivalent of the chalk outline of a murder.  You can see what was there, but now it’s gone.  Shudder.

The thing that makes it so special is, all the chalkboard items are made to share.

Sea Bream with Roasted MushroomsOur favorite is the slow-cooked lamb shoulder for five, which comes in a cast iron pot, still bubbling, and a second cast-iron tray full of Boulangère potatoes.  There are two big spoons, and that’s it.  You serve yourself.  Firsts, seconds, more often than not thirds and fourths, friends trading pieces of lamb, and scraping at the corner of the potato dish.  There’s the sea bass acqua pazza or steak-frites for two to the three with Béarnaise. I know it seems conflicting, to want to go out so that you can eat the way you do at home, but I just love it.  It feels more convivial than any other meal I’ve ever had.

And that was the inspiration behind this fish.  Even stranger to make a meal to imitate a restaurant that imitates the home, but there you have it.  A bream or a bass, big enough for two, stuffed with a simple mushroom-truffle pesto and topped with crispy broiled wild mushrooms.  The great thing about cooking a whole fish is that you can’t serve it in anything other than the pan in which it was cooked.  So, it has that feel of our secret place.  Bring it to the table, and Mr. English and I just paw at it with our forks, taking pieces, and losing track of how many servings it’s been, insisting the other take more.  And I love the curious juxtaposition of fish with such an earthy ingredient as a mushroom.  It makes for a terrific contrast of texture and flavor.  There’s something cementing about a meal that is made for two and made to be shared.  I like the directive.  Eat and be together now.

I’m just doing what the fish tells me to do.

Bream with Mushroom Pesto

Just a note to say you can also make the mushroom-truffle pesto and serve it on toasts, or toss it with warm fresh fettuccine.  Yum.

Mushroom Pesto

Whole Roast Fish for Two with Mushroom-Truffle Pesto and Crispy Roasted Wild Mushrooms
serves 2 to 3

Whole Roasted Bream with Mushroom PestoINGREDIENTS

  • 14 ounces chestnut or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jarred black truffles
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil, plus extra for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, plus more for garnish
  • 1 whole 2-pound sea bass or sea bream, gills, guts, scales, and fins removed
  • 7 ounces mixed wild mushrooms

METHOD

In a wide sauté pan, melt the butter over high heat and add the mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid and the pan has just gone dry.  Add the garlic, and sauté another minute until fragrant.  Set aside to cool completely.

In a food processor, add the cooled mushroom and garlic mixture, the truffles, the oil, the basil, the parsley, and the pine nuts.  Blitz until almost smooth—you want it delicate, but still with a bit of texture.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper.  Using a very sharp knife, cut three or four slits at angle through the flesh on each side of the fish to the bone.  Stuff these slits with the mushroom pesto, and then spoon the rest into cavity.  Rub the outside with just a drizzle of oil.  Place in a parchment-lined baking dish, and cook until the fish is just done, about 35 minutes.

While the fish is resting, turn the oven up to 475 degrees F.  Toss the wild mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, and pepper.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast until crisp, about 5 minutes.  Spoon the roasted mushrooms and a few extra pine nuts over the fish, and serve.  Drizzle with truffle oil if you’re feeling decadent.

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Categories: 60 Minutes, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes
 

Lavender, Lemon, and Honey Spatchcocked Roast Chicken for Valentine’s Night In

RECIPE: Provençal Sweet-and-Sour Lavender, Lemon, and Honey Spatchcocked Roast Chicken

Lavender Lemon Spatchcocked Roast Chicken HalfI think there is something superlatively romantic about a roast chicken.  It may not have the sex appeal of an oyster, but it has romance.  How many a wife has put a roast chicken down in front of her husband (or vice versa) at the end of a cold day?  And I always remember that scene at the end of The Great Gatsby when Daisy and Tom sit plotting over a plate of cold chicken—that’s when I knew she loved him.  There is a domestic edge to roast chicken love, that I prefer to haute cuisine.  The halcyon comfort of marriage rather than the coquettish strategies of a first date.

Mr. English and I always spent the 14th in—the 13th or 15th are when we go out.  Valentine’s Day itself is often spent in pajamas, under blankets, eating something indulgent and watching reruns.  I like this romantic roast chicken for this year—for one, it feels right to make something whole that two people can share.  Whether that’s a chicken, a whole fish, a Chateaubriand—I just think it’s about taking down boundaries and eating together.  Then, of course, this chicken is roasted in flowers—very Valentine’s.  It’s a kind of Provençal sweet and sour.  The chicken is slathered in a butter studded with lavender blossoms and thyme leaves, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and light sweet honey.  Because I cut the backbone out, the chicken is crisp and juicy in one pan in 45 minutes, but the skin is this complex mess of Provencal flavors.

The chicken makes its own pan juices, but I roast lemon wedges alongside.  I serve it on toasted rustic brown pain au levain slices to soak up the gravy.  A glass of rosé, maybe some green salad, and voila.  True love.

 P.S. I have to say that I think the most romantic thing about this meal is the fact that all you have to do is cut the backbone out of a chicken and slather some butter on it with your fingers.  And I line the pan with foil and parchment.  What I’m trying to say, in true married women spirit, is that there is basically no cooking and no cleaning, so there are no chores to squabble over.
NB: I wrote this for Valentine’s but it ran a bit late.  Check out the story on Serious Eats.  You’ll have it for next year!
Provençal Sweet-and-Sour Lavender, Lemon, and Honey Spatchcocked Roast Chicken
serves 2 to 4

Lavender Lemon Spatchcocked Roast Chicken HalfINGREDIENTS

  • 1 3- to 4-lb chicken
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried edible lavender
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon thyme honey, lavender honey, or acacia honey
  • 1 tablespoons butter, left out of the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes so that it’s cold, but not rock solid

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the center.  Cut the backbone out of the chicken with kitchen shears.  Lay the the chicken breast-side-up in an enameled baking dish.  Press down on the breast bone to break, so that the chicken lies flat.  Season generously, front and back, with salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix together the zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (about half a lemon; reserve the other half lemon for later in the recipe), the lavender, the thyme, and the olive oil.  Stir to combine.  Add the butter, and using either a fork or an immersion blender to mash the mixture together, smash until the mixture is for the most part homogenous.

Slather the lemon, lavender, and honey butter all over the top of the chicken, and any extra, spread lightly on the under side.  Roast for 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F and the skin is golden and scorched.  10 to 15 minutes before the chicken is done, add the wedges from the remaining half lemon into the pan.

Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes on a board, and then cut it in half.  Serve it with warm toasted slices of pain au levain, with the pan juices poured on top and the roasted lemon wedges scattered around the plate.

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Categories: 60 Minutes, Cheap, Dinner for Two, Easy, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series