I became familiar with bistros while living in Paris and Geneva for 10 years. Found in every neighborhood, the bistro was the go-to restaurant for consistently delicious food. Welcoming, bustling, and casually elegant, the bistro was home away from home: soothing in its predictability, its comforting ambience, and its dedicated timelessness. Now, years later, there isn’t a bistro in our neighborhood, but it’s the cuisine I seek out in restaurants and enjoy making at home.
Skirt steak with shallots or Bavette aux Echalotes is a classic item featured on bistro menus. The less expensive and very tasty cut of meat is pan-fried on the stove and then served heaped with sautéed, caramelized shallots. It’s quick to prepare, delicious to eat, and economical on the wallet. Perfect bistro fare.
Bistro-Style Skirt Steak with Sautéed Shallots – Bavette aux Echalotes
1 skirt steak, about 2 pounds (1 kg.) cut crosswise into 4 pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
1/3 cup (80 ml.) red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the steak:
Use two skillets (or cook in two batches): Heat one tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in each skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add 2 steaks to each skillet, making sure they fit in one layer without overcrowding. Cook, turning once, until seared and cooked through to your desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a platter and tent with foil to rest.
Prepare the shallots:
Add one tablespoon olive oil to each skillet. Divide the shallots between the two skillets and sauté over medium heat until wilted and tinged golden brown, about 8 minutes. Combine the shallots in one skillet. Add the red wine vinegar and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the thyme, and any accumulated juices from the meat. Stir to blend and melt the butter, then remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the steaks on individual plates or serving platter. Spoon the shallots over and garnish with fresh thyme.