Easy Steak Frites Recipe for Bastille Day

When the New York Times published Sam Sifton’s Mock Steak Frites Recipe, we knew we would turn to it again and again. This method of pan searing the steaks on the stove means this meal comes together quickly and is the perfect treat to celebrate Bastille Day or a date night. They include a traditional compound butter. If you are looking for something more interesting, you can see more compound butter recipes here.

Steak Frites with compound butter


For the Mock Frites

  • Kosher salt

  • 8-12 new, baby or C-grade potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola

For the Compound Butter

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves, minced

  • 1 small shallot, peeled and minced

  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Splash Champagne or white-wine vinegar

For the Steak

  • 2 pounds beef steak, like flat irons, bavettes or ribeyes 

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil, like canola.


  1. Preheat oven to 450. Set a large pot filled with salted water on the stove. Add potatoes, turn heat to high and cook, gently boiling, until they are softened, approximately 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, and dry them well.

  2. Grease a sheet pan with half the oil, and put the potatoes on the pan. Using a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy glass, gently smash each potato, pressing it down to a thickness of less than an inch. Drizzle the rest of the oil over the smashed potatoes, place on top rack in the oven and allow to roast until the exteriors are golden and crunchy, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Add salt to taste.

  3. Make the maître d’hôtel (or compound) butter. Put the butter on a cutting board and, using a fork, cut the other ingredients into it until the butter is creamy and smooth. Scrape the butter together with a chef’s knife, and form it into a rough log. If making it ahead of time, you can roll it tight in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. For more detailed instructions, see our compound butter recipe.

  4. As the potatoes finish crisping, make the steaks. Set a heavy-bottomed skillet — or 2 if your steaks are large and you are cooking them in 4 pieces — over high heat, and let it sit for a few minutes. Shower the steaks with an aggressive amount of salt and pepper. Add the oil to the pan, and shake to distribute. It will almost immediately begin to smoke. Place the steaks in the pan, and allow to sear, unattended, for 4 minutes, until they have developed a serious crust. Turn the steaks over, and cook for an additional 3 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. Remove steaks to a warm platter to rest. Top each steak with a tablespoon of the butter.

  5. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and season them with salt and a grind of pepper. Place 2 or 3 crunchy potatoes on each plate, then nestle a steak up beside them. Top each steak with pats of the remaining butter.

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