Father’s Day

A lighter take on classic steakhouse fare


Main dish

Father’s Day Steakhouse Dinner

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated

Kosher salt and ground pepper

1 medium shallot, minced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

6 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of any visible fat

1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the grated potatoes, pressing them down with a spatula. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden brown on the bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Set a large dinner plate over the skillet and invert to transfer the potatoes, browned side up, onto the plate.

Return the skillet to the heat and add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Slide the potatoes back into the skillet, browned side up. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a sheet pan and place in the oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high, combine the shallot, vinegar, white wine, tarragon, a hefty pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook gently until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Whisk in the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon at a time. Whisk in 2 tablespoons water and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and heat it over medium-high. Pat the steak dry, sprinkle it on both sides with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook to desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer it to a platter, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.

While the steak is resting, add a tablespoon of the oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the spinach in batches, adding more as it cooks down slightly. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil after the first 2 batches. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute, and keep warm on low heat.

Remove the potato pancake from the oven and cut it into 6 wedges. Slice the steak thinly at an angle against the grain. Add the juices from the resting steak to the sauce along with the fresh tarragon, and additional water, if necessary, to thin. Warm the sauce over medium heat just until hot.

Transfer a potato wedge, a mound of spinach and some of the steak to each of 6 serving plates. Drizzle the sauce over each portion of steak and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 470 calories, 190 calories from fat (40 percent of total calories), 21 g fat (7 g saturated, 0 trans fats), 65 mg cholesterol, 38 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 33 g protein, 660 mg sodium.

Associated Press

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.”

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