My family eats a lot less red meat than it used to, but when I plan a Father’s Day menu, I still think of steak and potatoes. If you care about Dad’s heart health, the trick is to lower the fat and calorie count while keeping the satisfaction quotient high.
I start with flank steak. Leaner and tougher than rib-eye, it’s still plenty juicy and delicious as long as you cook it to no more than medium-rare and slice it thinly and against the grain. And just a little — 4 ounces — can be surprisingly satisfying.
As for the potatoes, I shredded starchy russets and flattened them into a pancake that I crisp in a nonstick skillet with just a little olive oil. Then I transfer it to a sheet pan and finish it in the oven, which frees up the skillet for the steak.
While the steak is cooking and resting, you can go to work on my “bearnaise sauce.” The traditional version, made with egg yolks, lots of butter and tarragon, is a classic of French cuisine. In my version, tarragon is the only carry-over.
I start by making a reduction with white wine, white wine vinegar, minced shallots and dried tarragon. To this acid base, I add my miraculous cheating ingredient — reduced-fat cream cheese — which replaces both the egg yolks and the butter. Finish off the sauce with fresh tarragon, and you have a wonderful sauce that is simultaneously rich and light.
One of the benefits of one-third-less-fat cream cheese is that it makes the sauce virtually indestructible. A traditional bearnaise is temperamental; you have to fret about the yolks curdling and the butter separating. This sauce stays intact. Don’t forget to add the resting juices from the steak, as they make the sauce even tastier.
Our steakhouse dinner wouldn’t be complete without spinach on the side. I cook it with olive oil and garlic in the same pan as the potatoes and the steak. I’m telling you, Mom, this is almost a one-dish meal.
Sara Moulton hosts public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and is the author of “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”