Sunday, 31 May 2009

t-bone steak with garlic, fennel seeds and merlot verjus

Leonardo da Vinci was quoted as saying "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." and really, it's so true when it comes to food.

Sunday evenings often call for something simple, usually because:

a) you're still hungover as all hell or

b) you've spent the afternoon lazing, and the concept of cooking something involving more than three ingredients is daunting.



T-bone steak. The reason why I like any meat on the bone is that it often carries a lot more flavour and the bone conducts heat, cooking it evenly. Pick a good quality piece of meat, with a bit of marbling. Something too lean won't be as juicy or tasty.

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Merlot verjus (experiment with others if you like. Mine is by the Essential Ingredient.)


Toast the fennel seeds in a hot fry pan for 1 min to get them to release their oils. Remove.

Season the steak liberally on both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix olive oil, fennel seeds and crushed garlic to vaguely resemble a paste. Rub on both sides of the steak and let it sit for 15-20 minutes (if you have time) to let the flavours chat each other up.

If you want to do this version 'full fat', melt a small knob of butter into a pan, otherwise rice bran oil is the best of the vegetable oils because of its high smoking point and absolutely neutral flavour.

Once the pan is searingly hot, whack the steak in. I like to use a skillet because it gives beautifully charred lines.

Depending on the thickness of the steak and how well done you like it, to quote Peter Russell Clarke "F*cking fry the c*nts till they go black, ya pr*cks." (I love you, PRC)


Personally, I like it rare and 1 1/2 minutes on each side is plenty (resist the urge to keep turning. Once on each side is the goal.)

Here's a good tip for testing the 'rarity' of your meat:

Press your finger to your chin. That's medium. Your cheek: That's rare. Your forehead: That's well done (and in my mind, overdone).

When the steak is done, remove from the pan and set aside to rest for a minute or two. This will allow the juices to relax back into the meat.

Pour a good splash of Merlot verjus into the still-hot-pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bits of garlic and fennel goodness stuck to the pan.

Pour the steak jus over the t-bone and serve with a salad of greens and grape tomatoes, drizzled with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

So there you have it: Simple Sunday steak, fooderati style.