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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Sarmiento

Pan-seared, sage marinated skirt steak, roasted asparagus and onions & rosemary mornay sauce

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

I am sure I am not the only one here that finds himself, time and time again, wondering what to make for dinner with what is left in the fridge.

It may be daunting coming up with something appetizing with little ingredients, but I assure you, with a little imagination and fun approach to cooking, you would be surprised on what you can come up with.

The fun is in the challenge, the smiling faces enjoying the first bite is what makes it all worth it.

Today’s recipe came together because I had the ingredients to make a fantastic mornay sauce.

(Photo: Serge Ramelli)

What is mornay sauce? The sauce is said to have been created by the Duke Philippe de Mornay in late 16th century France. It is essentially a bechamel sauce with grated cheese (bechamel sauce is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine made with milk, butter and flour).

Of course, I had to put my own touch on the sauce and substituted nutmeg with fresh rosemary. Believe me, fresh herbs added to a silky and cheesy sauce goes quite beautifully with roasted vegetables and off-sets nicely with a lean steak. Interesting how one builds a complete French-inspired dinner based on a sauce.

Let‘s get cooking!

Menu: Pan-seared, sage-marinated skirt steak, roasted asparagus and onions & rosemary mornay sauce.

Wine pairing: 2020 Santa Julia - “El Burro“ - Malbec Natural (Maipú, Argentina)

Serves 4

Ingredients Steak:

  • 2 pounds of skirt steak, trimmed, cleaned and cut in four equal sizes

  • 12 fresh sage leafs

  • Ground sage

  • Sea salt & cracked pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced

  • 1/4 cup of extra Virgin olive oil


  • 1 pack of of fresh asparagus spears

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced in thick julienne strips

  • Sea salt & cracked pepper

  • 4 tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil

Mornay sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, finely minced

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups warmed milk

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1 ounce each (2 total) of grated Gruyere & Grana Padano cheeses


Steak marinade (recommend you marinade steaks for at least 30 minutes):

  • Lightly season steaks on both sides with sea salt, pepper and ground sage.

  • Place steaks inside a large ziplock bag and add garlic, fresh sage leaves and olive oil.

  • Seal ziplock bag and move contents of bag around to ensure the steaks are evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  • Place asparagus and onions in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper and oil and mix well.

  • Transfer vegetables to a nonstick baking sheet (or foil-lined baking sheet)and distribute evenly.

  • Place sheet in oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until slightly charred and tender.

  • Remove from best and set aside.

Mornay sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is pale yellow and frothy, about 1 minute. Do not allow the roux to brown.

  • Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and rosemary. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. (This is now called a bechamel sauce, and may be used as is to top any number of dishes).

  • Stir in the cheeses and whisk until melted. If the sauce seems to thick, thin with a little milk.

  • Stir well, remove from heat and serve immediately.


  • On a large pan (ideally a cast iron pan), heat up olive oil on medium-high heat.

  • Remove steaks from ziplock bag and discard marinade. Add steaks, searing them for approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.

  • Remove steaks from pan and place them on large plate, loosely covering them with foil for 5 minutes.

Serve it up!

I promise you that by now (plating time) your kitchen is emitting wonderful aromas and you just can’t wait to eat!

On each individual plate, place a piece of steak in the middle of the dish. Next, serve a generous portion of the roasted asparagus and onions right next to the steak.

Finally, spoon a big dollop of the rosemary mornay sauce between the steak and vegetables (or you can just top the vegetables with the sauce).

Bon appetit! Enjoy!

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

About the wine...

A special thank you to Winesellers Limited for this unique and refreshing Malbec.

Santa Julia Malbec Natural is the first Organic and Natural wine from Bodega Santa Julia and reflects their mission to develop wines in an organic and sustainable way, coexisting with the environment instead of attacking it. It represents the maximum expression of the variety and its surroundings.

2020 Santa Julia - “El Burro“ - Malbec Natural (Maipú, Argentina)

(Photo: Carlos Sarmiento)

Tasting notes: Deep red color with violet hues. Typical aromas of Malbec, fresh fruit and a hint if plums and cherries. Great body and structure. Depp in mouth. Pleasant finish with a taste of plums jam.

Grapes: 100% Malbec (100% organic)

Food pairing: Malbecs a great match for steak, pork, and lamb, as well as fattier fish like salmon and poultry with dark meat. In addition to meat pairings, consider foods with richer sauces or more vibrant flavors.


Decorative wine drip collar by:

(Special discount promo code: CFW15)


Special thanks to my friend Serge Ramelli, for his captivating Parisian photos.

Merci beaucoup Serge pour votre fantastique photographie et votre talent artistique. Santé!

Follow Serge on Instagram at: photoserge

(Photo: Serge Ramelli)

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