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Steak Diane


eatingmike
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I plan to cook Steak Diane for my wife and I to celebrate an anniversary, but I've only ever seen the dish prepared on TV. I looked at a few recipes and saw lots of variation -- shallots, onions, mushrooms; cognac, vermouth, brandy; brown sauce, stock; corn starch, cream... etc. etc. Can anyone suggest a version that would qualify as most classic? I realize this is similar to debates over Caesar Salad but I thought I'd ask anyway.

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Can anyone suggest a version that would qualify as most classic?

Steak Diane is not mentioned in Escoffier or in la Repertoire, so has no place in Cuisine Classique.

Diane (Goddess of Hunting) is usually associated with game recipes, and garnishes and sauces involving game. Presumably one of these made the cross-over to beef.

Hunters Beef, on the other hand is pickled and long slow cooked.

The food timeline gives its origin as 1908, but with no justification.

Steak Diane has the feeling of originating in a grand hotel dining room, and The Chicago Meat Authority give its origin as "Created at the Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, individual tender beef steaks are pounded flat, quickly cooked in butter and flamed with cognac. The cognac sauce is typically finished with sherry, butter and chives". However, the Copacabana Palace Hotel was only opened in 1923, and note no onion, mushroom, mustard or Worcester sauce in this version..

My guess is around the turn of the century, with a revival in the 1950s, fading out as front-of-house staff became deskilled plate-slingers.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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The recipe that Pixelchef posted is pretty much close to the one in Betty Crocker's Cookbook from 1969. That one calls for one pound of beef tenderloin cut in 8 slices, and says that rib eye steak can also be used.

James Beard's American Cookery (1972) has two versions, both minus the mushrooms but plus "brown sauce" or meat glaze. One calls for 1/2 pound butter and 1/2 cup oil for four servings, but I think that might be a typo since the total used in the directions is only 10 tablespoons "plus another tablespoon or two" to finish the sauce. Besides, the other version only calls for 1/2 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of oil.

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Diane (Goddess of Hunting) is usually associated with game recipes, and garnishes and sauces involving game.  Presumably one of these made the cross-over to beef.

Lynne Olver, editor of The Food Timeline

(Morris County Library, NJ USA

http://www.foodtimeline.org) has kindly pointed me to their web entry:

Steak Diane History.

In it she points out Escoffier's recipe for Sauce Diane:

"Sauce Diane

Lightly whip 2dl of cream and add it at the last moment to 5dl well seasoned and reduced Sauce Poivrade. Finish with 2 tbs each of small crescent shaped pieces of truffle and hard-boiled white of egg. This sauce is suitable for serving with cutlets, noisettes and other cuts of venison."

and suggests it evolved from Steak au Poivre, traditionally propared at the table.

The crescent shapes are because Diane is also Goddess of the Moon.

The toast served with to mop up the juices should also be in crescent shape.

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I'd like to further confuse the origin and/or recipe with this 1979 quote from P. Franey.

"It was called steak Diane and it was the specialty of the house--twenty years ago and more--at the old Drake Hotel. The person most closely associated with steak Diane was known in dining circles throughout the city as Nino of the Drake. His full name was Beniamino Schiavon, born in Padua, Italy."

Hope this obfuscates.

PJ

:laugh:

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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Franey and Claiborne's recipe from The New York Times Cookbook calls for sirloin pounded thin, cooked in butter, flamed with cognac and finished with sherry, butter and chives.

No mustard, which, along with flaming cognac, is what I always think of when someone mentions Diane.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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