Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Griddled Rib-Eye steak with Béarnaise sauce

I rarely order steak in a restaurant, mainly because why risk it when you can cook it exactly as you want it at home? Everyone has their favourite cut of steak, mine was fillet, but after being introduced to rib-eye, it wins hands down every-time. The beautifully marbled steak has an awesome flavour and the melt in the mouth texture, so I decided to cook this as a treat for my folks and 4 year old boy, tj (he demolished it) on Sunday. Here's the recipe:

Griddled Ribeye steak with béarnaise sauce, roasted vine cherry tomatoes and asparagus wrapped in serano ham. Serve with really posh chips (see previous recipe) 

Serves 4
4 best quality angus ribeye Irish steaks, room temp, lightly seasoned and rubbed with olive oil. (Nb, oil the steak, NOT the griddle pan or smoke city will ensue) 
Bunch of asparagus spears, wrapped in serano (or streaky bacon)
Vine cherry tomatoes

For the béarnaise sauce 
One tablespoon of finely chopped shallots
One tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon
Sprig of thyme
1 bayleaf
2 1/2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 egg yolks, mixed with a little water
4 oz butter
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 220

Firstly prepare your asparagus. Snap them at the end and they will naturally break where the woody part starts. Wrap in bacon, place tomatoes in roasting pan too. season with salt & pepper. Set aside

Prepare posh chips if using, and put them into a really hot oven until golden and crispy.

You can add the roasting pan of asparagus and tomatoes for 10 mins at the end, that's all they need. Limp asparagus? No thanks!

Heat a griddle pan until really hot. Place the seasoned and oiled steaks down and sear, turn 90 degrees to get a nice crisscross pattern on the steak. Allow steaks to rest between two warms plates. See cooking guide below. I like mine bloody and squishy... Sorry! If you like it more medium/ well done, I'd suggest searing with a high heat and then reducing the temperature to avoid it becoming charred and bitter.

Preparing béarnaise 
The key to this sauce, like hollandaise is to have a very low heat and a good heavy saucepan. I use a gas hob and have discovered a way to have the heat on a tinny winny flame, which means my sauces pretty much never split. If you are nervous, have a glass of ice water to hand, and add a teapoon or two in if you think it's splitting. This might save it.

Add the shallots, herbs and vinegar into heavy saucepan over a medium
Heat and cook until the pan is almost dry. Turn the heat down to the absolute minimum. Add the egg and water mixture and stir until thickened. Add the butter, bit by bit until you have a gorgeous thick, silky tangy béarnaise sauce. This cannot be reheated, but it can't be kept warm over a bain Marie or over a very low heat for a few minutes. I'd be nervous to leave it longer than that.

Serve to really appreciative friends and family. This is a lovely treat, a celebration of the steak dinner and not an onion or mushroom in sight. 

Steak Cooking times:
The times given here are a guide only and refer to a steak that is approximately 2.5cm or 1" thick. Thicker steaks may require a longer cooking time, and vice versa for thinner steaks.
Rare: 1-2 minutes per side - rest for 6-8 minutes
Medium rare: 2-2.5 minutes per side - rest for 5 minutes
Medium: 3 minutes per side - rest for 4 minutes
Well done: 4.5 minutes per side - rest for 1 minute

Ham & Pea Risotto

A cheap dish that tastes expensive 
I'm a risotto addict. I love the cooking of it, and moreso I love the eating of it.  I think risotto has earned an unfair reputation that it's a difficult dish, where you have to stir non stop and you end up with a dead arm. Leaving it for a minute or two makes no difference, maybe that's too relaxed for the purists, but hey, the end result is always good. This is a yummy mid week dish, it's so simple and everyone will love it. 

Serves 4-6
300g of arborio rice (I like the tesco ingredients brand)
2 shallots, finely diced
2 garlic cloves crushed
2 oz butter
Glass of white wine
1 1/2 pints of chicken or veg stock
2 small packs of smoked bacon lardons
Frozen peas (
have no idea of weight common sense should prevail here)
A handful of best quality grated Parmesan
freshly grated nutmeg

Use a heavy saucepan. Melt the butter on a low heat and add the shallots and garlic, cook very slowly, for about 10 mins. Turn up heat, add the lardons and fry until lightly browned

Turn the heat to medium and add the rice, stirring continuously for about two minutes, until the rice is totally coated in the buttery wonderfulness.

Add the glass of wine and stir until almost absorbed

Add the hot stock in, one ladle at a time, allowing the stock to be almost totally absorbed before adding the next ladle, stirring (almost) continuously. Repeat this process until all the stock is used.

Add the peas,Parmesan and nutmeg. Season to taste (will prob need no salt what with bacon and Parmesan)

Turn off the heat and cover with lid and allow to stand for 2 minutes. This makes the risotto even creamier. The consistency should be similar to that of creamy porridge, don't be afraid to add some hot water if it seems too thick.

Top with more grated Parmesan

As comfort food goes, this is up there! 

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Really Posh Chips

I'm not a spud fan per se, could never embrace the "balls of flour" concept. If you eat with your eyes, why would floury balls be enticing? Anyway, moving on, rooster spuds would frequent most in my press because of their handiness for mash or wedges. I don't own a deep fat fryer nor do I want one, so my chips always come from the oven.... These chips have a certain 'je ne sais quai" 

Baked once, no soaking, palava free... 

Serves 2 posh people
2 large rooster spuds, I like to cut them into straight cut thick chips, wedges are far too common
2 garlic cloves, squished 
One sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
A decent shake of salt and freshly cracked pepper 
A good glug of extra virgin olive oil
A generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

Preheat the oven to the highest setting. Mines 220

Toss the ingredients, put them
In the oven, shake them around a couple of times

Ready in 25 mins. 

Get in.