You know a potato side dish is going to be good when 75% of the name refers to fat or meat. These super-crusty, oven-fried potato wedges, or “steak fries” as they call them where I’m from, are done with rendered duck fat, and while I’m a big fan of ones done with olive oil and/or butter, these really are better.
Not only does this fat help create a great texture, but it also adds a layer of richness and meatiness to the potatoes that’s nothing short of magical. Back in the day, you had to work or eat in a restaurant that served duck to enjoy this special treat, but happily, those days are over.
Thanks to evangelizing celebrity chefs and apparently smarter marketing people in the duck industry, this rendered fat is now pretty easy to find. My neighborhood Whole Foods stocks it, and I’ve seen it at many of the higher-end grocery stores.
By the way, if you’re concerned about that next cholesterol test, relax; duck fat is surprisingly healthy, and a quick Google search should explain why without me having to type any more. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 large russet potatoes
2-3 tablespoons duck fat
pinch of cayenne
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
– 325 F. for 40 minutes
– 450 F. for about 20 minutes or until done
Even though this trendy shooter’s sandwich has been requested many times, I’ve resisted making one because I’ve always felt there were better handheld delivery systems for steak and mushroom ingestion. Like a panini for example, or maybe even a cheesy quesadilla; but pressed into a cold, hard wedge?
Then, I had an incredibly small epiphany. I ran across the origins of the shooter’s sandwich online, and realized I might have been missing the point. This wasn’t something you make for just any lunch; it was something you make to take on a foxhunt (or what you Americans call a “tailgate party”).
I can’t remember the last time I was on a foxhunt, but after giving this a try, I can see the advantages of this very filling, very flavorful, and very sturdy sandwich. But, as I stressed in the video, you really need a couple huge steaks to make this work. Even cooked slightly pass medium, this was okay, but another half-inch of tender, pink meat would have made the whole affair significantly better.
So, I guess if I were going on a long hike, or out for a relaxing day of shooting innocent foxes, I would consider making this again, but while I tucked in, I have to admit, I’d probably be dreaming about a steaming hot, steak and mushroom hoagie. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 8 Portions:
(Note: I didn’t measure anything, ‘cause it’s a sandwich, but these should be close enough.)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra hot horseradish
1 tbsp mayo
For the mushrooms:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter, divided
1 1/2 pound button mushrooms
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 tbsp brandy or sherry
2 at least 16 to18-oz well-trimmed beef steaks (rib eye, NY strip, or top-sirloin are best choices, in that order). Seared in some vegetable oil.
3-4 oz fine pate, optional
You’re perfectly happy eating regular canned tuna, until the day you taste the imported, olive oil-packed tuna, and realize exactly what you’ve been missing. You tell people that there’s nothing better, but that’s not entirely true. There’s this.
By gently poaching fresh ahi tuna in olive oil, you can create a “tuna fish” of exceptional quality. The taste and texture are amazing, and you can adapt this in many ways. Besides switching up herbs and seasonings, you can cook the fish to a wide range of doneness.
Traditionally, the tuna is cooked all the way through, and preserved in the oil. This is a perfectly fine way to do it, and you will be blown away by the results. If you want to cook it through, simply keep it in the oil on low heat, until it’s just barely pink in the center (it’s okay to peek). Then proceed as shown, and by the time it cools it will be perfect.
Or if you prefer, you can follow my lead, and give it a briefer basting in the hot oil, so that after cooling in the oil, you’ll still have some gorgeous pink running through. There are so many variables, so the 5-7 minutes I did mine should only be a guideline for you. If you stop when the tuna is rare to medium-rare, by the time it cools in the hot oil, you should get something close to what I have here.
You can also do just one steak in a smaller pan, and it should work about the same. By the way, do not throw away the olive oil! You can use it for salads and pastas, or strain and freeze for another batch. It may take you a few experiments, but once you dial it in to how you like, you will be enjoying one of life’s great pleasure. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!
2 thick cut ahi tuna steaks (about 10-12 ounce each)
enough olive oil to come to surface of tuna steaks
2 whole garlic cloves, bruised
red pepper flakes to taste