Like most Francophiles, when we are not traveling to French-speaking (and -eating) destinations, we are at home, dreaming of them and inspired by them as we cook the foods we love. Steak frites is the definitive French bistro dish; our portobello version features a juicy red wine reduction that sings with tarragon and a touch of Dijon. You can easily make restaurant-crisp fries at home with the Vedge method: start with baked potatoes, then crisp them up in a little oil. —Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Puncture each potato with a fork three times, sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of the coarse sea salt, and wrap individually in foil. Bake until tender to the touch, about 40 minutes. Unwrap the potatoes and let cool; when cool enough to handle, cut each into eight wedges. Set aside.
While the potatoes are cooling, whisk together the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic, pepper, and shallots in a small bowl.
Place the portobello caps on a sheet pan with rimmed edges and coat them evenly on both sides with the olive oil mixture, leaving them rounded sides up. Roast until soft in the middle, 8 to 12 minutes.
Transfer the portobello caps to a plate, still rounded sides up, and set aside to cool. Pour the wine, vegetable stock, and mustard onto the warm sheet pan to mix with the mushroom cooking juices. Scrape any solids off the tray, then carefully pour this mixture into a large saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir the tarragon into the red wine sauce. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over high heat. When the oil is very hot, carefully fry a few potato wedges at a time until they turn brown on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the frites as they are done to a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle them lightly with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.
Reheat the portobello caps in the oven if necessary. Serve smothered with red wine sauce and frites on the side.
Husband-wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are the chefs/owners of Vedge and the newly opened V Street in Philadelphia.
Chef Richard Landau has been at the forefront of the vegetarian dining scene since 1994, when he opened Horizons Café in Willow Grove. His mission has been to take the carnivore palate he grew up with and use it to translate vegetarian cuisine to a broader audience. During more than five years at Horizons off South Street in Philadelphia, he continued to push the envelope of meatless cuisine. In 2009, he was invited to serve the first-ever vegan dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in Manhattan. He is proud to have helped shape the culinary landscape in Philadelphia and is excited to further raise the bar for vegetable cuisine.
Chef Kate Jacoby joined Landau in 2001 to throw her full support behind Horizons, the restaurant she had already grown to know and love as a customer. Her work on the line beside Landau helped hone her pastry skills and shaped her approach to desserts. As pastry chef, she strives to innovate vegan desserts and bring fresh ideas to rich, quality ingredients. And, as sommelier at Vedge, Kate includes the bar among her responsibilities. Her appreciation and enthusiasm for wine is evident in the lovingly selected wine list.
Landau and Jacoby are both Philadelphia natives. They spend as much of their time as possible traveling the world to find natural beauty, inspiring cultures, and exciting new foods and drinks.