One of the best steaks I’ve ever had in my life was at a L’Entrecote restaurant in Bourdeaux, France. The restaurant sold just grilled steaks served with matchstick fries. That was my first taste of it, and since then, whenever I’m in France and I come across any of these L’Entrecote restaurants I would pop in for a bite!
If you’re not French or unfamiliar, these L’entrecote restaurants are quite common in France. They are considered casual mid-range establishments and typically serve just one type of dish: sliced grilled steaks with fries and slathered all over with a creamy yellow, butter-based sauce. That sauce is magic. I’m usually a steak-with-just-salt-and-pepper kinda girl, but that steak converted me to a full-on yes-please sauce on everything convert.
By the way, while these restaurants are found… everywhere, the best L’entrecote steak and sauce EVER is the one I had in Bordeaux. We would always order extra helpings of the sauce and dip everything – extra bread please! – in it.
Imagine my excitement when I chanced upon this recipe online – so full credit of the recipe and my forever gratitude goes to them – and had to give it a go.
I’ll be honest, the long list of ingredients and the different cooking methods required intimidated me a little. I ended up modifying a couple of ingredients based on what I already have in my pantry, and it worked out fine! I stayed true to most of what was outlined in the recipe.
Herbs for L’Entrecote Sauce:
The herbs are a crucial ingredient for the L’Entrecote sauce. The main herb is tarragon, and you would need to seek this out. Tarragon has a licorice flavour to it and unfortunately has no close replacements. A common herb in French cuisine, but not common in Southeast Asia at all! A rare find in local Singapore supermarkets, but not an impossible task and worth seeking out. Try gourmet supermarkets.
If you really cannot find tarragon, then use more parsley, basil, sage in place of tarragon. It will not quite taste the same, but it will still turn out delicious.
The original recipe calls for chervil, which is French parsley. If you think tarragon is a tough find locally, wait till you try searching for chervil. Fortunately, chervil is easily replaceable with regular parsley!
Basil and sage are two other herbs used for this recipe. If you have both basil and sage, that would be best. However, if you only have one or the other, this recipe will still work out amazingly too. Although basil is usually a staple in my pantry, this time round I decided to just use sage.
Other Star Ingredients
Anchovy Fillets in Olive Oil: Another essential ingredient are the anchovy fillets. These add a deep umami flavour along with salt for the sauce. Make sure to get anchovies in olive oil, the ones in brine or vinegar are just not the same and not as tasty.
Flavour bombs: This sauce works exceptionally well because the flavours are beautifully balanced out. With the amount of anchovies, this sauce is NOT fishy at all! In fact, I couldn’t even tell there’s any sort of seafood in this when I first tried it. This is largely due to the strong flavours from the capers, mustard and the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar thrown in to balance it out.
In addition, I took the liberty of swapping out a couple of ingredients that I also didn’t quite have. The sauce came out lovely still, trust me! These are the swaps that I made:
- The original recipe called for a strong tasting mustard. I used the milder dijon mustard.
- Instead of lemon juice, I used apple cider vinegar for the acidity. Lime juice will work well here too.
- In place of Worcestershire sauce, I used Maggi Seasoning Sauce, which has a similar flavour profile. I almost always use Maggi Seasoning Sauce in place of Worcestershire sauce for any other recipes!
This sauce seems complicated due to the steps involved, and the different cooking methods required. This recipe also requires close watch; it’s not a sauce you can chuck onto the stove and leave alone. Some prior planning definitely helps for this. In essence, these are the steps required to create the final sauce.
1 – Melting butter slowly with onions. Use a small portion of the butter so that you can cook the onions quicker.
2 – Blend the the butter mixture with the herbs and ingredients to create a creamy sauce.
3 – Create a mayonnaise out of the butter creamy sauce.
4 – Heating part of the mayonnaise, and quickly cooling in cold water to stop heating process.
5 – Combining cooked mayonnaise with the unheated mayonnaise to form the final sauce.
Yes, not as simple as a one-pan, one-blender sauce. For a non-native French cook, these steps are all new to me. I suppose this is why the sauce comes out so distinct and delicious.
Can you keep this sauce?
The website mentioned that you should not keep this sauce at its final stage. Instead, if you want to make this beforehand, to stop at Step 3, or when you have the herbed butter cream. Step 3 sauce can be kept in the fridge.
That said, I did keep my sauce – the stuff is too good to throw away! I kept it in the fridge, and the next day I simply reheated it in the microwave. It turned more of that crumbly cream texture, but no ultimate difference in taste.
What else can you serve this with?
Of course, this serves gorgeously with steak. I like to serve the balance as a dipping sauce as well, for fries (shoestring, if you want to stay true to the style of L’Entrecote) as well as roasted vegetables.
This sauce is amazing with seafood as well. The next day I had it with pan fried salmon and it was delicious. The anchovies in the sauce gels it so well with the salmon.
More recipes like this
If you love this sauce, you might like these other sauces too:
- Garlic Ginger Chilli Sauce Dip
- Singapore Hawker-style Sambal Chilli
- Thai Spicy Seafood Dipping Sauce
- Nam Jim Jaew | Thai spicy, tangy dipping sauce
L’Entrecote Café de Paris Steak SauceCourse: Recipes
250 g of Unsalted Butter
1 medium Onion
1 tbsp Tarragon, chopped
2 tbsps Parsley, chopped
4 Sage leaves (or Basil)
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
30g of Anchovy Fillets in salt and oil
10 small Capers
2 tsps Ground Pepper (white or black)
1 Egg Yolk
1 tbsp Mustard
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or Lemon Juice)
1 tsp Maggi Seasoning Sauce (or Worcestershire Sauce)
Salt, if needed
- What do you need:
A whisk or electric mixer
Bowl with cool water
Pouring or Measuring Cup
- Add chopped onions to 1/4 of the butter in a pan. Over low heat, let the butter melt with the onions. Careful to not toast the onions – onions will turn translucent but there shouldn’t be browning at all. The butter should also come to a gentle sizzle.
- Once onions turn translucent, or you start smelling it, add in the rest of the butter. Still keeping a low heat, allow butter to melt slowly. When all of the butter has almost melted, turn off the heat.
- Add tarragon, parsley, sage (and basil if using), anchovies, ground nutmeg, walnuts, capers, ground pepper. Blend this up, so you get a butter cream. Optional: pour this mixture in a pouring or measuring cup for the next step, so it’s a less messier process.
- In a separate bowl, add egg yolk, mustard, maggi seasoning sauce (or worcestershire sauce), and the vinegar. Use a whisk or hand mixer to beat this mixture. Gradually pour in the butter cream from earlier. Eventually this will become a thick creamy consistency, much like mayonnaise.
- Pour 2/3rds of the mixture into a saucepan. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl filled with cold water. Your pan should be able to sit in the bowl easily.
- Heat the saucepan over low to medium heat, and continuously stir. Do not let this come to a boil. Stir until it breaks and turns into a crumbly liquid. It should look “ruined”.
- Once it turns crumbly, immediately take the saucepan off the heat and place it in the bowl of cold water. Continue to stir to stop the cooking process. After about 30 seconds, add this mixture back into to the leftover mayonnaise that we did not heat up.
- Give that a whisk to combine the two sauces together. Sauce is done!