Grilled fillet steak

Grilled fillet steak


Serves 2

For the béarnaise reduction:

  • 300mls tarragon vinegar
  • 3 large or 6 small shallots, chopped
  • 2tbsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2tbsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns


For the béarnaise sauce:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g unsalted butter, melted
  • A little salt and white pepper
  • The leaves from 3-4 sprigs tarragon, finely chopped


  • 2 x 200g fillet steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little olive oil


  • 2 large Maris Piper potatoes, peeled, cut into chips, well washed in cold water, drained and dried
  • Fine salt 
  • Oil [vegetable or peanut, for instance], for deep frying 


  1. To make the béarnaise reduction, put all the ingredients into a stainless steel saucepan and bring up to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until the mixture has reduced by half; about 30 minutes. [Note: have the extract on full whack, as the reduction is very strong.] 
  2. Suspend a fine sieve over a bowl and pour the mixture into it. Using a small ladle, press down on all the tarragon/shallot mixture until no more liquid emerges below. Decant into a small bottle or jar and keep in the fridge until needed, where it will keep for months.
  3. To make the béarnaise sauce, whisk together the egg yolks in a stainless steel pan [preferably with rounded contours in the base of the pan, where the whisk won't miss any egg yolk] with a splash of water, over a low heat, until thick and smooth.
  4. Off the heat, now continue to whisk while pouring in the melted butter [remove any surface scum] in a thin stream, leaving behind the milky residue that has settled in the bottom of the butter pan.
  5. Once the sauce is smooth and glossy, add dribbles of the béarnaise reduction to the sauce until well flavoured, but not too vinegary; a scant tablespoon, say.
  6. Stir in the tarragon and correct seasoning. Decant into a serving bowl and keep warm over a pan of hot - not boiling - water while you grill the steaks

For the Chips

  1. Heat the oil to 140C. Put the potatoes into the frying basket and carefully lower them into the oil. Fry for about 7-8 minutes, lift them out and pinch one to see if they are soft. At this stage, you do not want them to colour; if you notice that they are turning a touch golden, then turn the temperature down a little.
  2. Now tip these floppy chips out onto a paper-lined tray and leave to cool while you cook the steaks. You may also do this stage a few hours in advance, keeping the chips covered, in the fridge.
  3. To finish the chips, turn the frying temperature up to full; on most machines, this is around about 180C [I actually think you need 190C, for the most crisp of chips, so search around for a deep-fryer that has this higher temperature]. Return the chips to the oil and fry again for 1-2 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden. Sprinkle with fine salt and serve at once.

For the Steak

  1. Season the steaks, brush with olive oil and cook on a ribbed, stove-top grill until done to your liking.
  2. Allow the steaks to rest for five minutes while you finish frying the chips.