From John St. John The Record of the Magical Retirement of G. H. Frater, O∴ M∴, The Sixth Day: “1.00. Half-dozen oysters and an entrecôte aux pommes.”
Having already discussed the proper way to eat oysters in Paris, we’ll address the entrecôte aux pommes, or steak and potatoes. You will need a deep-fat thermometer and an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with 1/8-inch julienne blade.
Entrecôte Béarnaise and Pommes Pailles (Pan Seared Ribeye Steak With Béarnaise Sauce and Shoestring Potatoes)
2 (1 1/4-inch-thick) boneless rib-eye steaks, 16 oz each
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, divided
3 large egg yolks
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
About 6 cups vegetable oil for frying
2 russet (baking) potatoes
Halve steaks crosswise, then pat dry and sprinkle all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat a 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then add oil, swirling skillet to coat bottom, and cook steaks 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes. Make béarnaise while steaks stand: Boil wine, vinegar, shallots, and 1 tablespoon tarragon in a small heavy saucepan until liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve set into a medium metal bowl, pressing on and then discarding solids. Whisk yolks into vinegar mixture, then set bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until yolks have thickened slightly (do not scramble). Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time, adding each piece before previous one has melted completely. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice, remaining tablespoon tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve steaks with sauce.
Heat 2 inches oil to 375°F in a wide 5- to 7-quart heavy pot (at least 4 inches deep) over medium heat. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut lengthwise with slicer to make 1/8-inch-thick julienne strips. Fry potatoes in 5 or 6 small batches, stirring until golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Return oil to 375°F between batches. Drain potatoes on paper towels and season with salt.
Potatoes can be cut 3 hours ahead and chilled in a large bowl of cold water. Drain well and pat dry before frying.