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Perfect match: onglet with cabernet merlot

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for onglet with béarnaise and pommes Pont Neuf.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 4
  • 15 mins preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus soaking, cooling, resting
Onglet with béarnaise and pommes Pont Neuf
Onglet with béarnaise and pommes Pont Neuf

It's a Parisian bistro classic, isn't it? Steak, chips, béarnaise, watercress and a glass of "claret" - that wonderfully old-school name given by the Brits to the red wines of Bordeaux. It works with this dish because the firm, elegant, mouth-drying tannins of the cabernet and merlot grapes used to make red wines from Bordeaux are softened by the protein of the steak, and the herbal lift of tarragon in the sauce matches the cedary, aromatic quality of the wine. Although there are some brilliant clarets around, there are also some wonderful Australian cabernet merlots that might make an even better match, thanks to the extra weight of blackcurrant, mulberry and plum fruit. Look for cab merlots from the very good 2006 vintage in the eastern states, and from the superlative 2007 vintage in Western Australia.

Beef up a classic French steak with a bottle of Aussie cab merlot. It’s the perfect balance of beauty and brawn.


  • 4 onglet steaks (about 220gm each)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 250 gm butter, melted (keep warm)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp each tarragon leaves and chervil sprigs, finely chopped
Pommes Pont Neuf
  • 4 large russet Burbank potatoes, or other floury potatoes
  • 850 gm (4 cups) duck fat (see note)


  • 1
    For béarnaise, simmer vinegar, shallot and peppercorns in a small saucepan over high heat until reduced to 1 tablespoon (5-7 minutes). Combine vinegar reduction and egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl, whisk to combine, then whisk over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure to scrape sides) until thick and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat, place bowl on a tea towel to secure, then add melted butter in a thin steady stream, whisking continuously until thick and incorporated (2-3 minutes). Season to taste with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper, stir through herbs, cover, set aside and keep warm.
  • 2
    For pommes Pont Neuf, cut potatoes into 1.5cm-thick chips, soak in cold water for 1 hour. Preheat duck fat in a deep-sided saucepan to 140C. Drain potatoes, pat dry with absorbent paper, fry in batches until tender (5-7 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, set aside to cool. Increase temperature to 190C, then fry chips in batches until golden and crisp (3-5 minutes), drain, season to taste, keep warm.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, bring a large chargrill to medium-high heat. Drizzle steaks with oil, season to taste and cook to your liking (4-5 minutes each side for medium). Cover loosely with foil and rest for 5 minutes, then serve with béarnaise, pommes Pont Neuf and watercress salad, if desired.


Note Canned duck fat is available from select delicatessens. Drink suggestion by Max Allen