Steak Frites with Roquefort Butter

To get to work in New York you commute underground, emerge someplace sooty and windswept and walk briskly to your place of employment, stopping at a deli for a blue cup of coffee and a bagel, griddle-toasted, oozing butter. At the close of business you slip through the stile with one smooth Metrocard motion and press against strangers jostled at varying speeds, starts and stops, as you count the minutes, eyes buried in a book, headphones barely blocking out the din of a thousand million audible hopes and concerns. Then, you are home.

Home is a neighborhood as much as it is a small apartment you share with a very nice kid from Pennsylvania who endeavors to be an opera singer, or a barista. The neighborhood is peopled by ordinary characters who endure mythically in the tales you tell yourself later about the once upon a time you spent in Washington Heights or Cobble Hill.

Cobble Hill is where we lay this scene. On nights like this, warm, when summer finally feels inevitable and girls first dare their floral dresses, we would walk after work to a cafe on Court Street, seated at a sidewalk table, everyone watching everyone, monologue, dialogue, spent silence, some cheap wine in a carafe, and a lazy steak frites following oysters, that were neither great nor terrible.

It felt glamorous, like a Hemingway novel set in Paris. We were young and youthful and it didn’t matter if we were happy because we were interesting. After dinner we would walk blocks, my feet sticking to the backless plastic heels I thought were so grown up, near the water or to the bar or bookstore, before we went home to watch TV like everybody else.

Steak Frites with Roquefort Butter
Serves 2


For the Roquefort butter:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled Roquefort cheese

For the Frites:

  • 2 large Idaho potatoes
  • 2 cups peanut oil
  • Kosher salt

For the steak:

  • 1 large bone-in rib eye steak
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For the Roquefort butter:

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Mash with a fork to mix well. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Frites:

Steak Frites

Peel potatoes. Slice into sticks a little less than 1/2 inch thick. Immediately soak in an ice water bath, at least 30 minutes.

Steak Frites

In a medium-sized pot, heat peanut oil to 280 degrees F. Drain and rinse potatoes to remove excess starch. Working in batches, pat potatoes dry and blanch them, 6-8 minutes. When they are semi-transluscent, use a slotted spoon to remove them to a baking sheet. Let potatoes rest at least 15 minutes.

Steak Frites

Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Fry blanched potatoes in very hot oil, 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them to a large bowl lined with a clean, dry towel or paper towels. Toss with salt and serve immediately. Dipping sauces optional, but encouraged.

For the steak:

Follow our foolproof method for perfect medium-rare steak: Bring steak to room temperature, and season generously with salt. Preheat oven to 550 degrees. In a cast iron skillet, heat a splash of oil until it starts to shimmer, but just before it starts to smoke. Add steak to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Flip steak , and immediately transfer pan to hot oven. Cook two minutes more, then transfer steak to plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for ten minutes before sprinkling with freshly ground pepper and serving with a big dollop of Roquefort butter.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. This may seem sacrilegious to someone who would useRoquefort, but in a pinch I substituted a package of Ken’s Blue Cheese Dressing that came with an order of wings and some herbs in place of the Roquefort and it turned out pretty good.

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