Magazine article Sunset

Paris and Onions

Magazine article Sunset

Paris and Onions

Article excerpt

food guide

Formidable together when flavor's at steak

Despite France's complex contributions to the world of cuisine, humble onion soup-as served in Paris's old Les Halles neighborhood-is one of its most famous dishes. If you think the impact is slight, consider where California dip would be without a packet of dried French onion soup mix.

The essence of this exalted flavor is nothing more than onions cooked until limp and lightly browned to bring out their natural sweetness. And herein lies the not-so-secret element of culinary whiz Sally McArthur's sumptuous rib eye steak at Seattle's Metropolitan Grill. The onions, cloaked in a delicate cheese sauce, are mounded on a hunk of meat, then finished under the broiler with an additional glaze of cheese. A final touch of broth mingles with the juices as you carve the steak, restating the onion soup connection. Certainly, you could grill the steak, as McArthur does, but browning the meat in a pan, then finishing it in the oven, makes cool-season sense.

French Onion Rib Eye Steak

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 25 minutes

NOTES: You can prepare the French onions up to 1 day ahead or start them just before the steak.

MAKES: 4 servings

1 fat-trimmed beef rib eye steak (cut 2 in. thick, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb.)

1/2 teaspoon each kosher or coarse salt, cracked pepper, dried onion flakes, and dried garlic flakes

1 teaspoon olive oil French onions (recipe follows)

1/2 cup shredded gruyere or Swiss cheese

1/2 cup fat-skimmed beef broth

1. Rinse beef steak and pat dry. Pat salt, pepper, onion flakes, and garlic flakes evenly onto meat.

2. Pour olive oil into an 8- to 10-inch ovenproof nonstick flying pan over high heat; tilt to coat pan bottom. When hot, add steak and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Supporting meat with tongs, tip steak onto its edge and rotate to brown lightly, about 2 minutes total. As fat in pan accumulates, wipe out with paper towels.

3. Put pan with steak in a 400 deg regular or convection oven and bake until meat is done to your taste (cut to test), 8 to 12 minutes for rare or about 25 minutes for well done.

4. Turn oven heat to broil. Remove pan and wipe out fat with a paper towel. Mound French onions onto meat and sprinkle with cheese. Broil in pan about 6 inches from heat until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from oven and pour broth around meat, stirring to release browned bits.

5. Leave meat in pan or use a wide spatula to transfer steak and onions to a warm rimmed platter (pour juices around meat). To serve, cut meat and onions into 4 equal portions; set each on a rimmed plate and spoon juices around meat.

Per serving: 302 cal., 51% (153 cal.) from fat; 33 g protein; 17 g fat (7.4 g sat.); 0.6 g carbo (0.1 g fiber); 329 mg sodium; 99 mg chol,

French onions Peel and thinly slice 1 onion (1/2 lb.). In a 10-- to 12-inch frying pan, combine onion, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir often over mediumhigh heat until onion is limp and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add 12 teaspoons all-purpose flour and mix well. Remove pan from heat; stir in 14 cup milk and 1/2 cup fat-- skimmed beef broth. Stir over high heat until boiling; continue stirring until liquid is almost evaporated and mixture doesn't flow when scraped from pan bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese; stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use hot. If making up to 1 day ahead, let cool, then cover and chill; reheat in a microwave-safe bowl in a microwave oven at full power (100%) for about 1 minute. …

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