Saturday 10 December 2016

Stuart O'Keeffe's 6 sweet and savoury sensations

Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30

Port marinated skirt steak and roasted grape tomatoes.
Port marinated skirt steak and roasted grape tomatoes.
Spinach Poached Eggs
Angel hair with lemon, kale and pecans.
Mustard crusted pork with apple cabbage slaw.
Rasberry custard pots
Black and white croissant bread pudding.
Stuart O'Keeffe's The Quick Six Fix.
Stuart O'Keeffe

How to win friends and influence people: cook this steak. Invite people over you want to impress and they will be saluting you by the meal's end. The best part of this recipe is that the marinade is made up of ingredients that you're likely to have in your kitchen already. The sharpness of soy, vinegar, port, and chili permeate the meat, so each bite is packed with flavour.

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PORT-MARINATED SKIRT STEAK and ROASTED GRAPE TOMATOES

Serves 4

Ingredients

1½ lbs skirt steak, sinew removed, membrane removed, fat trimmed (ask your butcher to do this)

½ cup (4 fl oz) low-sodium soy sauce

½ cup (4 fl oz) port wine

½ cup (4 fl oz) balsamic vinegar

½ tsp dried chili flakes

3 spring onions, roughly chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.

2. In a Ziploc bag, combine steak, soy sauce, port, balsamic vinegar, and chili flakes. Marinate for at least 20 minutes.

3. Light a grill or heat up a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Remove steak from bag and pour the rest of the marinade into a wide saucepan. Over high heat, reduce marinade for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

4. Place steak on grill or cast-iron pan and let cook for 3 to 5 minutes each side. Set aside on a plate under tented foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

STOP! WHILE STEAK RESTS, WIPE DOWN BAKING SHEET AND CLEAN PANS.

5. Slice into ½-inch slices. Drizzle with reduced marinade, sprinkle with spring onions, and serve with roasted tomatoes.

for the ROASTED GRAPE TOMATOES:

These cherry tomatoes, a spin on the Irish breakfast tomato, are the perfect pairing with this steak, adding just the right pop of sweetness to balance out the char of the meat. The best part - they go well with so many other dishes in this book, too.

Ingredients

2 cups (300g) cherry tomatoes, preferably on the vine

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.

2. Place tomatoes on a rimmed 18 x 13-inch baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Place in the oven to roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes are golden brown and blistered.

I know that you're intimidated by the thought of poaching eggs. If you do it wrong, it can make an inedible mess. But do it correctly and you've got heaven.

POACHED EGGS, GOAT'S CHEESE, AND SPINACH ON TOAST

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The flavour in this dish brings me back to France 2002, during my culinary arts years in college. My friend Simon and I would rummage through the restaurant to make breakfast. Together we came up with this creamy masterpiece.

Ingredients

1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

4 tbsp unsalted butter (divided)

6 cups (270g) spinach leaves

½ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 medium eggs

4 slices whole wheat bread

4 ounces goat's cheese

Extra virgin olive oil for garnish

Method

1. In a large saucepan, bring 3 inches of water to a simmer. Add vinegar.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups spinach leaves and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and spinach. Season and set aside, covered.

3. Crack one egg at a time in a small bowl and slide the egg gently into the simmering water. Cook until the egg whites are opaque (about 30 seconds) before adding the next egg. (Be patient and take your time. It may take a few tries to get it right, but when you do, it's impressive.) Continue cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs on to a plate lined with paper towels.

4. Toast the bread. Spread the slices with goat's cheese and place on four plates. Top with spinach and one egg per slice of toast.

5. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. Serve.

ANGEL HAIR with LEMON, KALE, AND PECANS

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When kale started to take over the food world, I noticed it was juiced, made into chips, put into smoothies, and even sneaked into chocolate bars. So why not put it in a pasta dish? The nuts in this recipe give the dish another layer of flavour and a nice crunchy texture. The bitter, citrus, crunch, and chili all combine for a unique pasta.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

½ cup pecans

1 lb angel hair pasta

½ cup (4 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp dried chili flakes

½ lb kale, stems discarded and chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

8 basil leaves, torn

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Method

1. Toast pecans in a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes until fragrant. Remove from skillet and chop. Set aside.

2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta for 1 minute less than the package instructs.

3. While the pasta is cooking, heat ¼ cup (2 fl oz) olive oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the garlic and chili flakes and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.

4. Add kale and lemon zest and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir carefully so that the kale will not fall out of the pan.

5. Add the pasta, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Toss until everything is coated.

6. Portion pasta onto plates. Sprinkle with the pecans and Parmesan cheese.

RASPBERRY CUSTARD POTS

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My always-baking aunt made custard with everything. When raspberries were plentiful, she would throw a bunch into a custard and bake them. I remember making this with her when I was growing up. It was so delicious, and this recipe is especially for her.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1½ cups (185g) fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, plus extra for garnish

3 medium egg yolks

2 medium egg whites

1½ cups (12 fl oz) heavy cream

½ cup (95g) superfine sugar/ icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup crème fraîche

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Lightly grease four 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray.

2. Place 3 raspberries in the bottom of each ramekin.

3. Whisk egg yolks, egg whites, cream, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.

4. Divide the egg mixture and then most of the rest of the raspberries among the ramekins, remembering to reserve some for garnish.

5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the custard is just firm.

6. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Add a dollop of crème fraîche on top and sprinkle with one or two extra berries.

MUSTARD-CRUSTED with PORK APPLE CABBAGE SLAW

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Serves 4-6

During Easter time, I love to whip up this easy dish for my family. My mom always has three other types of meat in the oven, usually a duck, a goose, and a turkey. Sometimes beef, too. So trying to find the space to make this meat ends up in an annual argument. Every. Single. Time. Just a snippet of Easter with the O'Keeffes.

Ingredients

1 1½-lb pork tenderloin

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ cup (125g) grainy mustard, such as Grey Poupon

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp light brown sugar

4 cups (400g) shredded cabbage

1 apple, grated through medium to large holes on grater

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.

2. Pat pork dry and season well with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk mustard and olive oil together. Using your hands, rub mixture all over pork tenderloin. Let meat sit until it comes to room temperature, at least 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Place pork on a wire rack on a rimmed 36 x 18-inch baking sheet lined with foil. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F/180˚C and cook for another 10 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven, set aside, and cover with foil.

4. In a skillet, heat butter, vinegar, and sugar over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then turn up the heat to medium-high, add the cabbage and apple, and cook until the cabbage has wilted somewhat, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley.

STOP! AS CABBAGE AND APPLE COOK, WIPE DOWN BAKING SHEET, WIRE RACK, AND BOWL.

5. Remove foil from pork and slice.

6. Spread cabbage on a platter, top with pork slices, and serve.

BLACK AND WHITE CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING

This dessert is a big hit at parties in the Hollywood Hills, especially in the cooler months. It's probably one of my most deceptive desserts - everyone thinks it's complex to prepare, but it's one of the simplest desserts in my repertoire. When the bread pudding is firm to the touch, you know it's done.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 medium eggs, plus 3 additional yolks

1 cup (8 fl oz) heavy cream

1 cup (8 fl oz) whole milk

½ cup (95g) plus 1 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 one-day-old croissants

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (70pc cacao)

5 ounces white chocolate chips

1 cup (240g) crème fraîche or whipped cream

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F/190˚C. Butter the bottom of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch baking dish with your hands.

2. In a large bowl, whisk whole eggs and yolks, cream, and milk with the ½ cup brown sugar and vanilla extract.

3. Tear up croissants and mix with egg mixture until well combined.

4. Spoon half of the egg croissant mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with dark and white chocolate chips, top with more egg croissant mixture, and finish with remaining chocolate. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar.

5. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

6. Remove from oven. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream.

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