Mastering the Art of French Cooking | Julia Child
- Tournedos Henri IV [Filet Steaks with Artichoke Bottoms and Béarnaise Sauce], p. 298 - Pointes d'Asperges au Beurre [Buttered Asparagus Tips], p. 438 - Fonds d'Artichauts au Beurre [Buttered Artichoke Bottoms, Whole], p. 431 - Pommes de Terre Sautées/Pommes de Terre Pour Garniture/Pommes de Terre Château [Potatoes Sautéed in Butter], p. 526 - Fonds d'Artichauts à Blanc [Cooked Artichoke Bottoms- Preliminary Cooking], p. 430
You can buy Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking which contains these recipes here.
Butter Count: +11.5 TB
Cost: $110.70 [~$18.45 per serving]
Wow! This recipe is INSANE! The recipe itself is only half a page long, but it directs you to SEVEN other recipes in the book. Despite laying out all of my ingredients and prepping beforehand, this recipe turned out to be a hot mess. I knew my time management was bad, but this was a whole new level. Fortunately, after all the madness, you will end up with a magnificent meal. Let’s get started, shall we?
First, the artichokes. These will be top the steaks and be filled with béarnaise sauce. Mind blown, right? The illustrations of the preparing of artichoke bottoms in the book are so useful. I could explain the process, but I think it would just be confusing. Page 429 has everything you need to know. Basically, you pull the leaves off until you can cut the top of the artichoke off leaving you with just the bottom. The first step is blanching them in salted water, as is the first step of most all of the vegetable recipes. Except this time, flour and lemon juice is added to the water. This will prevent the artichokes from discoloring. Once the water and flour mixture has simmered for 5 minutes, the artichoke bottoms are added and boiled for 30-40 minutes.
While the artichokes were being blanched, I began the potatoes. Now, these are not just any ol’ potatoes. These are boiling potatoes that Julia asks you to cut into elongated olive shapes all the same size. Well, I tried. It took forever, and their shapes were all over the place. Some looked okay; some looked not so okay. But at the end of the day, they all taste the same. This is suggested as it allows the potatoes to cook evenly and roll around in the pan. Warning- you might get hand cramps
Next, I prepped the asparagus tips. The tips are cut off to be about 1 ½ inches long and the stalks are diced. The asparagus tips are bundled with string, and it all gets blanched in salted water. The stalks are boiled for 5 minutes then the tip bundle is added for an additional 5-8 minutes.
About now is when I began to panic. Everything needs to be done at the same time. I would LOVE to watch somebody make this in their kitchen. Though, they would probably have much more grace than I did. I turned my focus back to the artichokes. Once they are cooled, they are washed under cold water, and the choke is scooped out. Season the bottoms with salt and pepper. Next, heat butter in the casserole until it is bubbling, baste each bottom, and place upside down in the dish. This will keep the center moist. Lay buttered paper over them, reheat the casserole, and back at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
For the potatoes, they are dried in a towel (do not wash!). Add clarified butter to a skillet on moderate high heat, and put the potatoes in. They are left alone for 2 minutes, shaken, and seared on another side for 2 minutes. This is where my weirdly shaped potatoes did not fare so well. This is continued for 4-5 minutes until they are a pale golden color. This means a seared, protective film has formed over them, and they will now not stick to the pan. Sprinkle with salt, lower heat, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes shaking every 3-4 minutes to insure even coloring. Now this is when I was doing five other things, and my potatoes got the shaft. Very sad, black potatoes. But I will say that slightly burnt sautéed potatoes are delicious, and we still ate them. Pour out the fat, add butter, minced parsley, and pepper to finish.
The asparagus stalks are now arranged in a baking dish, seasoned with salt and pepper, and topped with melted butter. The tips are then placed on top of the stalks, seasoned with salt and pepper as well, and topped with more melted butter. Place wax paper on top of them, heat on the stove, cover, and place in a 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
Rounds of bread are sautéed in clarified butter to make the canapés. I began to make the béarnaise sauce which luckily I had already made before so I knew the process. Now, FINALLY the steaks. The filet steaks are sautéed in oil and butter (just like in the previous recipe), seasoned, and placed on top of the canapé. The fat is poured out of the skillet, Madeira wine and beef bouillon are added to make a reduction. The sauce is spooned on top of the steak, an artichoke is placed on top, and the artichoke is filled with béarnaise sauce. All served beside the hot potatoes and asparagus tips. Whew! Just writing about it again made me tired. Honestly, each individual step is fairly simple. But trying to get everything done at the same time, ridiculously hard! I would love to hear from anybody that has attempted to make this recipe before. At the end, of course, it’s worth it, but the journey is exceptionally tiring.
You can find these recipes and all the other Julia Child recipes I make in Mastering the Art of French Cooking
February 27, 2020 by Laura Bullock