Tuesday 24 October 2017

Steak With Crispy Spuds

Steak with crispy spuds. Photo: Mark Duggan
Steak with crispy spuds. Photo: Mark Duggan

Aoife McElwain

People tend to get a bit worked up about well done steak. "What is the point in having your steak well done?" people shout on Twitter to no one. When it was reported that Donald Trump preferred his steak well done, there were knowing nods across the internet.

"Oh, of course he likes his steak well done," as if his choice of meat were a window into his soul. The main argument against well done steak is that it is said to affect the flavour profile and texture of great meat.

When I first started learning about food, I used to order rare steak in restaurants, in a misguided fit of bravado.

"I simply must order the weirdest food, cooked the most hardcore way," I'd say to myself.

However, being faced with a fully blue piece of steak feels a bit hardcore. A couple of steaks in, I realised I didn't like the texture of rare steak.

I don't like rare steak! It's quite liberating to confess this to you. My perfect steak spot is medium, just on the side of rare. I want it pink but I also want that plenty of that deep juicy caramelisation on the outside.

My point is, your dinner belongs to you. I would suggest trying a rare steak in a great steak restaurant. See if you like it. Do the same with medium and even well done (though perhaps not on the same visit).

Maybe you prefer your steak well done. Don't let anyone tell you how you should eat your dinner. It's yours, after all.

This week, I'm sharing an economical supper where one large piece of steak is shared between two people.

The cooking method below will garner you a medium rare steak but feel free to cook it the way you like it. To accompany this steak, I've made some very moreish crispy potatoes and a deliciously speedy roast tomato salsa as a sauce.

Steak With Crispy Spuds

Steak with crispy spuds. Photo: Mark Duggan

Serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


3 large vine tomatoes

1 bulb of garlic

2 sprigs of rosemary

Olive oil



1 large potato

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of sugar

Sunflower oil

1 large piece of steak, such as sirloin


1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas Mark 7. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in roasting dish. Slice the bulb of garlic in half and place the two halves around the tomatoes. Add the rosemary sprigs to the dish and drizzle everything with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have started to blister and sizzle.

2. Meanwhile, peel the potato and finely slice it into rounds. Use a pastry brush to coat each slice of potato in olive oil. Place the potato slices in one layer in a roasting dish lined with baking paper. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Pick the leaves from the fresh sprig of thyme and sprinkle over the potatoes. Set aside until your tomatoes are ready.

3. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Turn the oven down to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6. Place the potatoes in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy, golden and cooked through.

4. Transfer the tomatoes to your food processor. Select two or three loose garlic cloves that were roasting alongside your tomatoes. Peel them and finely dice them before adding to the blender or food processor. Add the red wine vinegar, salt and sugar and blitz the tomatoes until a similar consistency to a pesto.

5. Heat a bit of sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Season the piece of steak with salt and pepper. For a medium rare steak, when the pan is hot, fry the steak on both sides for five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the steak rest in the hot pan for another 10 minutes.

6. Slice the steak into pieces. Serve on a platter with some of the tomato salsa spooned over the top and the rest served on the side. Transfer the skinny, crispy potatoes to a plate.

This week's storecupboard essential

Thyme: Thyme, whether fresh or dried, is a herb that is a constant in my kitchen life. I prefer fresh thyme but dried thyme is a very handy one to have in the cupboard.

If you don't have fresh thyme, use dried thyme in this recipe. Just sprinkle a generous pinch, about half a teaspoon, over the spuds.

Irish Independent

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