MAY 21, 2012

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

ARLENE KEITH, CHEF DE CUISINE, EDI & THE WOLF

Arlene Keith dropped out of culinary school after three months. But it hasn’t stopped the 30-year-old from working, in her words, “all over New York,” including at impressive kitchens such as Momofuku Noodle Bar and Eleven Madison Park.

Today, the self-taught Keith is chef de cuisine of Edi & the Wolf, an Austrian restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village. Raised in Queens, where she still lives, Keith began cooking when she was nine years old. “My family is very old-school,” she says. “The women learn to cook when they’re young.” By her own admission, she has come a long way from the rice and beans of her childhood, and for Sous Chef Series, she prepared a pan-seared rib-eye steak with goat-cheese potatoes.

TRACK THIS CHEF

Arlene Keith's:

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

On Days Off

"Well, let's just put it this way: I don't go to museums. After a night at work, I wake up way too late for that."

The Perfect Steak

To give her richly-marbled rib-eye a nut-brown crust, Keith cooks it in a very hot pan, basting the steak with fat that has been infused with garlic and herbs, spooning it over the meat as it cooks.

MAKE THE
Rib-Eye Steak with Goat-Cheese Potatoes and Portobello Mushrooms

YIELD

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2

Potatoes

3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

¾ cup heavy cream

2 small garlic cloves

½ large shallot, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

1 thyme sprig

1 small bay leaf

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

⅓ cup chicken broth

3 ounces (about ½ cup) fresh goat cheese

Sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped dill

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Mushrooms

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large portobello mushroom, stemmed and chopped

1 tablespoon white wine

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Steak

3 tablespoons freshly ground mixed peppercorns (or 3 tablespoons black peppercorns)

1 teaspoon sea salt

One 8-ounce rib-eye steak

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves

3 thyme sprigs

1 rosemary sprig

DIRECTIONS

1. Start the potatoes: Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 16 to 20 minutes. Drain.

2. In a small saucepan, simmer the cream, garlic, shallot, thyme, bay leaf and black peppercorns over medium heat for 10 minutes. Strain over a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the solids and set the infused cream aside.

3. Make the mushrooms: In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped mushroom and cook, stirring often, until the pieces are nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Add the white wine and butter and stir until the butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Make the steak: In a small bowl, combine the peppercorns with the salt. Season the steaks with the peppercorn mixture, being sure to pat the mixture on firmly so it adheres to the meat. Heat a large skillet over high heat for 3 minutes, then add the grapeseed oil; when the oil starts to smoke, add the steak. Sear until nicely browned, about 4 minutes, then flip. Add the butter, garlic, thyme and rosemary and use a spoon to baste the top of the steak with the butter mixture until the steak is cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes more for a medium-rare steak. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

5. While the steak rests, finish the potatoes: In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, then whisk in the infused cream. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the goat cheese in three parts, making sure it is well combined between additions. Salt to taste and stir in the potatoes, lemon juice, dill and parsley.

6. Slice the steaks crosswise against the grain and divide between two plates. Spoon some potatoes and mushrooms alongside the steak and serve.

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