In a culinary world where foraged roughage and herb menageries are increasingly popular, a classic dish starring a big, juicy steak is a welcomed reprieve. Steak Diane, a toothsome dish that Chef Henning Nordanger has spent the past 15 years perfecting, is a Henning’s Local year-round staple that returning customers order again and again.

Henning-NordangerThe original preparation of Steak Diane calls for venison and forest mushrooms – a tribute to the dish’s namesake, Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. It’s traditionally prepared table-side by the maître d, adorned with a simple pan sauce spiked with brandy and set aflame. Although Henning decided to forego table-side flames and swapped venison for filet mignon, his interpretation stays true to the dish’s concept of a lean protein accented by a rich-tasting, light-feeling sauce.

Everyone should master Steak Diane. Henning shares with DV8 the recipe for this signature dish at Henning’s Local.

Steak Diane                      Serves 2
  • 2  5-ounce tournedos of beef filet mignon, lightly pounded to ½ inch thickness
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 – 3 ounces of a good quality cognac or brandy
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (cold)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Season each filet with salt and pepper; spread an equal portion of mustard on top side of each filet. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat. When oil is hot, sear filets lightly on one side, mustard side up. Flip filets (so that mustard sides are now on the pan) and add capers;  jiggle the pan to move capers around a bit.

Henning-Nordanger-2Pour cognac or brandy into the pan and deglaze, using a spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the pan. Using a lighter (preferably a long-neck lighter but any flame will suffice), carefully light sauce on fire to burn off the alcohol. Add Worcestershire sauce, stir and turn down flame. Allow mixture to simmer for a couple of minutes, turning the steaks often until they reach desired temperature. If sauce becomes too thick or dry, add a few tablespoons of beef stock – the consistency should be a light gravy. To finish, stir cold butter into the sauce; taste and add a pinch more salt if desired.

 

Henning recommends serving medium rare, and with buttery mashed potatoes and tender braised greens like kale or roasted root vegetables.