To make this bistro classic in my kitchen, I use a cast-iron skillet or grill pan that I get really hot, and then I sear the steak on both sides, cooking it medium-rare, which is the way I like it. My preferred cut is entrecôte, or rib eye, and I ask the butcher to cut it into steaks that aren’t too thick since I like lots of surface area on my steaks. I rub them with chipotle chile powder to give them a bit of a smoky flavor. It’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take a particular steak to cook to your liking since there are so many variables, but there is actually no truth to the rumor that if you cut a steak open a little and peek inside, all the juices will come gushing out and your steak will be dry. In fact, the best way to ensure a steak is dry is to overcook it. So feel free to peek inside if you need to.
- Pat the steaks dry and rub them with the salt, chipotle powder, and cilantro. Refrigerate the steaks, uncovered, for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.
- To make the mustard butter, in a small bowl, mash together the butter with the dry mustard and the Dijon. Form it into two mounds and chill on a plastic wrap–lined plate.
- Heat a little oil or clarified butter in a grill pan or cast-iron skillet and cook the steaks over high heat, being sure to get a good sear on each side. For rare steaks, cook 5 to 7 minutes total on both sides, or aller-retour (“to go and return”).
- Remove the steaks from the pan and put on plates. Top each steak with a knob of the mustard butter and some pepper and serve with a big pile of frites.
Excerpted from the book "My Paris Kitchen" by David Lebovitz. © 2014 by David Lebovitz. Reprinted by permission of Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved. from
David Lebovitz has been a professional cook and baker for most of his life; he spent nearly 13 years at Chez Panisse until he left the restaurant business in 1999 to write books. He moved to Paris in 2004 and turned his website into a phenomenally popular blog. He is the author of six books, including The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert, and a memoir called The Sweet Life in Paris, and was named one of the Top Five Pastry Chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle. He has also been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Cook's Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Saveur, Travel and Leisure, and more.