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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (1/03/14) ~

Culinary Q & A #2Happy New Year and T.G.I.F.  I for one am looking forward to a quiet weekend of rest and recovery, then a return to a normal routine starting first thing Monday morning.  This morning, I received question from a reader which made me chuckle, because, by complete coincidence, it's related directly to my next  blog post of 2014.  I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised by it, because a lot of people (like myself) often choose to serve fancy beef dishes for their New Year's Eve celebration!

IMG_2070Q.  Connie says and asks: Melanie,  I made your individual beef Wellingtons for New Years eve. You entitled your recipe ~ My Love Affair with: Individual Beef Wellingtons ~.  That name is appropriate because now my family has a love affair with them as well. My father-in-law said, "this is the best meal I have ever eaten!" [Note to readers from Mel: Recipe can be found in Categories 3 or 21.]

IMG_2081During dinner, we all conversed about other filet mignon dinners we have experienced in the past.  My sister-in-law, named Diane, remarked about Steak Diane, which she recently ate in New York  City.  I said it sounded a lot like steak au poivre.  Is is possible there are different names for the same dish?

A.  Kitchen Encounters:  Needless to say Connie, I love it that your family loved my Wellingtons.  I chose to feature your question this week not IMG_9757just because it is such a lovely testimonial to my recipe, but, because it fits perfectly with what I made for Joe and I for New Year's Eve dinner (and will be my next blog post):  steak au poivre!

Steak au poivre and steak Diane are similar in that filet mignon is used in the preparation of both.  In both cases, the same skillet used to prepare the meat is used to prepare a sauce made from the "fond" ("drippings") left in the pan.  

Here are the notable differences:

IMG_9784Steak au poivre is a French creation which historians date back to the 19th century.  Steak Diane is a mid-20th century creation invented and popularized in NYC when preparing flambeed dishes tableside was very trendy.  The most important thing to remember about steak au poivre is: "au poivre" is French for "with pepper", and, for this dish the steak is crusted in a copius amount of cracked peppercorns prior to being pan-seared on the stovetop (and sometimes finished off in the oven).

The thing to remember about steak Diane is: the meat is not crusted in peppercorns.  It is, however, sliced or pounded thin prior to frying, at tableside, so that it will cook rapidly!

That being said, there is one other term that confuses a lot of people:  "a la Diane".  

In French, "a la" means "in the style of", and Diane was the Roman goddess of the hunt.  Her name is often attached to dishes prepared with game, namely:  venison.  So, for instance, if you prepare steak au poivre using filet of venison, you would name it:  Steak au poive a la Diane!


IMG_8925Enjoy your weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away... or e-mail me directly!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


m.d. moore -- you are quite welcome!

About time someone gave an informative and acurate answer. Thank you.

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