Friday, June 13, 2008
Meat and Potatoes...Romain Fruge'
As we move toward the Tony's we salute those who are not always celebrated. I choose Romain Fruge' because he represents the backbone of the theatre, known, but not a big star, he represents the staple, the meat and potatoes of the theatre.
I hope he's not a vegan.
I have seen him in many shows and while he is best known to audiences for The Full Monty, the two that most impressed me were Floyd Collins, and Love, Valour, Compassion; both seen by pure chance.
After sitting through 'Dream True' one of the absolute worst things ever produced in the theatre from top to bottom I found the name Tina Landau a bit frightening.
I was in Chicago teaching a seminar on the weekend and at loose ends for the evening hours. I did as I always do and looked to see what was playing in the area. Floyd Collins was at a theatre close by and had tickets available, but when I saw that Tina Landau was the author, I almost passed; but I thought it could not be worse than 'Dream True' nothing could be; and I could always leave.
As Tina revealed her talents so did Mr. Fruge' his plaintive isolated performance was deeply moving and he sang the score beautifully.
More recently I had gotten on my bike for an excruciatingly long trip and biked from Manhattan to the Berkshires. After a long nap and a visit to the Normal Rockwell Museum I went looking for something to do and what else...went to the theatre. Again Mr. Fruge' was in the cast, playing Gregory Mitchell and really blew me away. When I got on my bike to ride back to the B&B I had emotional power moving my legs.
The next morning I must admit to loading the bike onto a bus to get back to Manhattan.
Meat and Potatoes Fruge' aka Dinner Hash
1 lb of cube steak (You know the stuff that is scored because it can be so tough, antibiotic, hormone free, free range grass fed preferred.)
1 lb onion
1/4 pound butter
1/2 pound potatoes
A few dashes of Cayenne Pepper
Olive oil as needed
Sour Cream to garnish
Get a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and cut the beef into slivers just a little bit wider than fettucine. Place in a bowl and using roughly equal parts, toss it with several good shakes of Paprika then soak it in Soy sauce and Worcestershire. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour so it soaks in. Have a glass of wine while you wait.
After a glass of really good wine and a few olives it's time to cut your onions and potatoes. I like to slice the onions thinly and the potatoes like a frite approximately the same size as the meat strips.
Put half the butter in a wok or a heavy bottom skillet and saute' those onions until they are soft and beginning to carmelize. Set aside. Now put in the rest of the butter with a touch of olive oil, turn up the heat a notch and push those potatoes around til they are creamy crisp, like a good home fry. Salt 'em a little bit while you stir. A little pepper wouldn't hurt at this point.
Add a little more oil and get that pan steaming hot. Lift the beef out of the marinade and drop, stand back, it will splatter a bit. Resist the urge to mess with it. You want it to crisp and brown a bit before you move it around.
When the beef is fully cooked toss in your potatoes and onions.
Open a bottle of kick ass Cab and toss it around a little before putting on warm plates and topping with a good dollop of sour cream.
Serve 4 hungry working actors and will power them through a 3 hour performance.