So I am a huge fan of the TV series Mad Men. If you are not aware of the series it is a fantastically written drama about an advertising agency in the 1960's. There is so much more to it than just that, but that is the short just of it. I have been waiting patiently for the new season to start and it started to make me think about the food they eat on the show. I had some research to do…food of the 1960’s! In the series they show lots of steaks, pot roasts, oysters, themed meals, many cocktails, some foods that make my arteries want to clog, and in some ways I think they smoked more cigarettes then they ate. In the research I did about the 60’s steaks and chicken were extremely common, Japanese food was considered highly trendy, and people were just learning who Julia Child was. I cannot imagine living like this…but the challenge was on – Mad Men style dinner.
What did I come up with? Steak Diane (a form of steak au poivre), Baked Potato, and an Iceberg Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese dressing. Not adventurous in comparison to what I might make today, but very forward and trendy of the time. I tried to stay true to the 1960’s theme but I did place my own spin on the recipes.
Steak Diane (serves 2)
(This is a dish with lots of French influences. Made with Cognac that was very trendy and new at the time. It was traditionally made with a steak that was pounded thin and simmered in this pan sauce. Although, I thought pounding the steak was an insult to the beautiful cut of meat it was; and the sauce needed more to it than just a peppery finish so I added Crimini Mushrooms that I feel lend great flavor and balance to the sauce. The sauce does make the perfect amount for two steaks plus a bit more for extra, but it is a recipe that can easily be doubled.)
2 Steaks, ones with good marbling (seasoned well with sea salt)
3 tbsp of butter
6 – 8 Crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 ½ tbsp of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp of sea salt
1 cup of Cognac
½ cup of stock (beef, veggie, or chicken)
¼ cup of Cream
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a nine inch sauté pan over medium to high heat and melt 2 tbsp of butter in the pan. Place your mushrooms in the pan and stir well to coat and let them all simmer together. You can then sprinkle your pepper over the mushrooms with your sea salt. You will see that the mushrooms will begin to release their moisture and begin to brown in the pan.
Meanwhile, preheat a nonstick pan (large enough to fit your two steaks) over high heat and melt your remaining tbsp of butter. Place your steaks in the pan and sear on each side. Place the pan in your preheated oven and let it roast about 10 minutes depending on its thickness. (You are looking to cook it to your desired likeness.)
Next, pour your cognac over your mushrooms and simmer to reduce by half. Once reduced add in your stock and simmer. Be sure to check your mushrooms, you want them to be cooked through and tender. Add in your cream, stir it well and heat through. Taste your sauce to adjust its seasoning if needed.
Finally, remove your steaks from the oven and let them rest about 10 minutes. Place your steaks onto their plates and spoon the mushrooms and sauce over them. Pair it with a baked potato, or anything else you please and enjoy. Modern day 1960’s Steak Diane