Wolfgang Puck

I'm all for seasonality, and my chefs and I always love to feature the freshest local ingredients in dishes that feel appropriate to the time of year. But, seasons don't really stop and start on particular days. In some ways, they are artificial divisions, blending one into the next. In some places, like Los Angeles where I live, it sometimes seems like never-ending springtime or summer. Some of my friends in northern mountain communities talk about how they also experience only two real seasons: snow, and the muddy melt.

So, when I cook, I try to stay more carefully aware not only of the precise time of year and broader season but also what the weather is like right now, where I am. Many times, I wind up preparing dishes that seem not so much to represent one season as to straddle the new season and the one just past.

My recipe for Sauteed Rib-Eye Steaks with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Crispy Onions is a good example. Just a few weeks ago, I might have made a variation of this recipe on my outdoor grill -- slathering rib-eyes with a blend of mustards and searing them over an open fire. But now, without losing the very relaxed style of that preparation, I move its cooking indoors to produce a main course that seems appropriate as a casual yet special main course for early-autumn entertaining. You could, really, think of it as a perfect dish for Indian summer, the traditional term for the kind of fleeting summery heat wave that can suddenly occur after a period of frosty autumn weather.

Of course, to move those steaks indoors, I make a few adjustments to the recipe. First, I use boneless rib-eyes rather than bone-in steaks, to help them fit more easily together in a stovetop skillet and to ensure that they cook more evenly. The flavorful deposits that form in the skillet from the steak's juices during searing also give me the perfect opportunity to create a quick sauce for the steaks, deglazing the pan with some lemon juice or vinegar and then adding broth and reducing the liquid to a light coating consistency. As a finishing touch, I add some crispy onions that I quickly deep-fried before cooking the steaks; on an outdoor grill in summer, of course, I would have cut those same onions into slightly thicker slices and grilled them alongside the steaks.

The result is a dish you can be sure will seem appropriate regardless of what the weather is like on the particular autumn day you plan to serve it.

Sauteed Rib-Eye Steaks with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Crispy Onions

Serves 4

Vegetable oil, for frying

2 yellow onions, thinly sliced


1 cup all-purpose flour

4 boneless rib-eye steaks, each about 6 ounces

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup organic beef broth

Juice of 1 lemon, or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh chives

In a deep, heavy saucepan or a deep-fryer, preheat about 4 inches of the vegetable oil to 325 degrees F. on a deep-frying thermometer or on the deep-fryer's thermostat.

Meanwhile, put the sliced onions in a mixing bowl, season the onions to taste with salt. Sprinkle in the flour and toss until well coated. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, shake off excess flour from the onions, add them to the oil, and deep-fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them with a wire skimmer or the deep-fryer basket and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.

Season the steaks to taste with salt and pepper on both sides. In a small bowl, stir together the mustards. Brush one side of each steak with the mustard mixture and lightly sprinkle it with flour. In a heavy skillet large enough to hold the steaks without overcrowding, heat the peanut oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the steaks flour side down and sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes. With tongs or a spatula, turn them over and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Carefully pour off excess fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat, add the broth and lemon juice or vinegar, and stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Boil briskly until the liquid is reduced by about half. To finish the sauce, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and minced herbs. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.

To serve, place each rib-eye steak on a heated plate, spoon the sauce over and around it. Top with crispy onions.

Rib-Eye Steaks Recipe, American Cuisine


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Sauteed Rib-Eye Steaks with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Crispy Onions

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