Flank steak and shallots, with French lemonade glazed carrots, dandelions and dandelion flower fritters

Flank steak is a cut of beef taken from the abdominal muscles or lower chest of the steer. French butchers refer to it as bavette, which means "bib". Dixit Wikipedia. In fact, the French bavette is separated in two parts, the bavette d’aloyau, the most common and coveted one, and the bavette du flanchet. Give its form, this one was probably a bavette du flanchet… Like the hanger steak, this cut is a favorite of the beef connoisseurs. Both cuts share in fact a lot of attributes in common, although their shapes are different, flat and rectangular for the flank steak, and a more “profiled” shape for the hanger. They both present long muscular fibers, which requires a special attention regarding the way to cut them and the way to cook them. More specifically, if they are overcooked, those long fibers shrink and the meat becomes tough. It should imperatively be cooked rare, as medium rare is already too much. This is probably why they are so popular in France, where eating rare meat is the rule, as compared with the USA. It’s a pity because those two cuts, the flank steak and the hanger steak are known as the most flavorful beef cuts.

Those qualities are probably the reasons why the bavette is a staple in the classical French bistros, where it is generally served with shallots (bavette à l’échalotte) and French fries. I describe the recipe with shallots, but I serve the bavette with a trio of French limonade-glazed carrots and dandelion flower fritters. Please, spellchecker, limonade and not lemonade: French limonade is a bit like Sprite, except that it is much older (I had it when a kid in my school canteen), much better… and much more natural too! And mainly, it proves fantastic to cook and glaze vegetables like carrots: the carbonated water helps to cook and the sugar contained in it give a shiny glaze…

Levels of difficulty
10 minutes

10 minutes

4 servings


§  1.5 lbs* of flank steak
§  2 or 3 heads (4 or 6 cloves) of shallots depending on their size, chopped
§  A shot of Cognac (optional)
§  A glass of red wine
§  1 tsp. of flour
§  1 tbsp. of neutral oil
§  A generous quantity of butter
§  A tbsp. of crème fraiche (optional)
§  Salt and pepper (or Espelette)

* Typically, for French recipes, I give the (suggested and estimated) weight based on the French standards. Generally speaking, the quantity of meat, and of food, served in French restaurants or families is significantly lower than in the USA. Thus, there is no need for a meatless Monday, and also, the practice of the doggy bag is uncommon and, to be honest, slightly despised in France.
§  Think of removing the meat from the fridge 1 hour before cooking it and slightly rub it with salt
§  Put the oil in a pan and heat it at the quai maximum temperature
§  Sear the meat 1 minute on each side maximum, move the pan out of the burner, and remove the hot oil from the pan
§  Put the butter in hot pan and as it melts, baste generously the steaks on each side
§  Let rest the steak on a grid a grid
§  In the pan with butter used to sear the steaks, gently (medium/low, the butter shall remain blond and foamy) cook the shallots till they become translucent and slightly grilled. Reserved them
§  Deglaze the pan with the Cognac, put the burner on high, and flambé it
§  Add the wine and let it reduce for a few minutes
§  If the sauce is still too liquid, add the flour diluted in a little bit of the sauce, and keep cooking the sauce till it thickens
§  Add the crème fraiche (optional) and sir it up
§  Place the steaks of the plates, and cover them with the shallots

§  I serve the bavette with a trio of carrots glazed in Fench limonade, dandelion leaves rapidly heated up in the hot pan, and a little treat, some dandelion flower fritters.

Alain Ducasse's style bavette à l'échalotte, braised big carrot, glazing sauce
(no crème fraîche)
Bavette served with smashed potatoes gratinéed like a gratin dauphinois
 and a Robuchon-type riced and sieved potato purée (no crème fraîche)