Friday, January 7, 2011

On the Road - Rio de Janeiro (Pt. 3) - RECIPE Filé Osvaldo Aranha

The garlic-covered steak known in Rio de Janeiro as filé Osvaldo Aranha and served in bars, steakhouses and fine restaurants around the city is a delicious combination of good-quality beef, crunchy fried garlic, and generous helpings of three side dishes. Named in honor of Brazilian politician and diplomat Osvaldo Aranha. this dish packs a whallop of protein and carbs, and the usual practice is for a single order to be shared between two people. In an earlier age when people had time for a leisurely lunch and a nap afterwards it might have been possible for a diner to polish off an order of filé Osvaldo Aranha singlehandedly, but in todays more rushed and health-conscious society, one plate will nicely satisfy two people.

RECIPE Filé Osvaldo Aranha
Serves 2

2  filé mignons, at least 1 inch (3 cm) thick, about 1/2 lb (225 gr) each

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup (125 ml) manioc flour (farinha) - available in Latin American markets
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. finely chopped Italian parsley
1 tsp. finely chopped green onion
salt and pepper to taste

Home-chipped potatoes
1 large potato, peeled and very thinly sliced
neutral vegetable oil for frying
salt to taste

Plain white rice
Made in your accustomed way

Prepare the farofa. In a large heavy frying pan, melt the butter, then add the chopped onions and fry until transparent Add the beaten egg. Let set slightly, then using a spoon break the eggs up into small pieces. Add the manioc flour and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the flour just begins to toast. Remove from heat, then salt to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and green onion and reserve, keeping warm.

Prepare the potatoes. In a deep heavy frying pan, or deep-fryer, heat sufficient quantity of oil until hot but not smoking. Add the potato slices, in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding. Fry until golden, then drain the potatoes on paper towels. Season to taste and reserve, keeping warm.

Prepare the steak. In a heavy frying pan, preferably cast iron, heat the 1 Tbsp. of the butter until it melts and begins to bubble. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper and grill them in the frying pan for about 4 minutes per side, depending on thickness of steak and desired degree of doneness. Meanwhile, heat the remaining Tbsp. of butter in another small fying pan, and fry the garlic slices until crispy and golden.

Serving the dish. On each of two plates, place on steak, then top it with half of the fried garlic, with some of the butter the garlic was cooked in. Accompany the steak with servings of farofa, potatoes and white rice, either separately served, or mixed together at the very last minute, as desired.


  1. Oh my God, It has been so long since I last had a Filé Osvaldo Aranha! I used to have it once a week with my colleagues in Sao Paulo CBD. What a feast! How tender and buttery that beef is?
    What a great post!


  2. Thanks for your kind words, Priscila. I'm glad that reading about Filé Osvaldo Aranha brought back some memories of Sao Paulo and your colleagues there.