A light yet absolutely delicious way to enjoy steak!
I'm writing this in January, when many people are trying to abstain from something or focus on their health (after eating their own body weight in cheese and chocolate over the holidays!) However stay with me, this isn't 'steak with mountains of chips and bearnaise sauce' steak, this is something different! This is everyone's favourite protein with all the enjoyment but not the calories. It's a quick and easy dish to make too - 30 minutes max.
We've found the Italian approach to steak quite different to that in the UK, or even France, where it's usually a very indulgent affair with the meat bathed in a rich sauce, blue cheese or peppercorn, for example. In our favourite local trattoria in Tuscany, the steak comes with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a small wedge of lemon!
This recipe continues along those lines. The steak is fried or grilled quickly on each side, then sliced medium rare, and served with peppery rocket (arugula for our North American friends), salty Parmigiano and sweet Balsamico. The result is perfectly balanced and a delight to eat. Some fresh tomatoes sometimes also accompany the dish.
Why not give it a try? A Tuscan purist will probably tell me I need to use rib or sirloin, but buy a cut suitable to your taste and wallet. We used rump in our demo - it's got a great flavour, doesn't cost the earth and has a little extra texture, which I enjoy. The money you save from not buying a rib-eye or T-bone can be put towards buying organic to ease your conscious if, like us, you feel a tinge of guilt cooking with beef too often given the footprint and welfare considerations.
In the recipe below there's a little twist: It seems a shame to me to waste the cooking juices in the pan so in our version we add a little red wine to the mix with all the meaty tastiness in the pan once the steak is resting on the side. We reduce the wine a little, before adding the balsamic - this creates an even tastier dressing to pour over the beef and rocket.
VIDEO: You can follow our video recipe in Instagram stories, click HERE
- 2 sirloin, rib-eye or rump steaks
- Around 40g Parmesan, cut into shavings with a vegetable peeler
- Around 60g Rocket (arugula)
- 100ml red wine
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Salt and pepper, to season
- Take your steak out of the fridge about an hour before cooking, it should be room temperature before cooking for best results! A few minutes before cooking your steaks, put a frying pan or skillet on a high heat.
- Rub a little oil on to the outside of the steaks, and season well with salt and pepper. Your pan should, by now, be smoking hot. Carefully lay the steaks in the pan and cook for around 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. We want them well browned and crusty on the outside, but pink in the middle. You can poke the steak with your finger to try to understand how cooked it is - if it's starting to feel tense and hard it is more well cooked, if it is very soft and yields to the touch as you poke it, it is still fairly raw. Medium-rare is somewhere in the middle! In the video we have finished the steak in the pan with a little butter, but this is very much optional.
- Rest the steak for at least the same amount of time as you cooked it for. This is essential - if you cut into your steak too early, all the juices will spill straight out of it and the meat won't have relaxed.
- Meanwhile, add the wine to the pan you cooked the beef in and 'deglaze'. This just means scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the juices and sticky bits leftover from the steak into the liquid. Reduce the wine on a high heat by around half then allow to cool slightly. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, set aside.
- Dress the rocket with a little olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Arrange across the bottom of a serving plate. Once the steak has rested, cut it into around 2-3cm strips, it should be nice and pink in the middle! Scatter the slices over the rocket. Sprinkle on the Parmesan shavings, then drizzle the balsamic and red wine reduction mixture over the top to finish. Enjoy!