Everybody Eats Well in Belgium, October 1996
Ruth Van Waerebeek
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In Belgium, steak-frites is practically one word. A steak without a mountain of Belgian fries and a pint of fresh beer is unthinkable. The two signature dishes of Belgium are moules-frites (mussels with fries) and steak-frites.
My grandfather Charles, a butcher all his life, always said to choose meat that is marbled with tiny veins of fat. A perfect steak is small and plump with a thin layer of fat around the edges. A steak that is too lean and thin will have no flavor and will be dry. Look for meat that is labeled prime or choice.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and sear for 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper and continue cooking, turning the steaks every other minute, until you see little pearls of blood come to the surface, about 6 to 8 minutes. The steaks should be cooked rare to medium for juicy, tender meat.
Remove the steaks and place them on warmed plates. Over medium heat, deglaze the pan with the water and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Drizzle these pan juices over the meat and serve at once with fries.
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