Thursday, 28 June 2007
The Best Ever Meal?
Have you ever had somebody ask you, 'What is your best ever meal?'. I hate and love these type of questions in equal measure. Love them because I adore talking about favourite things and debating which ones are the best. Hate them because, much like the British seasons, I change day to day. One day it could be roast beef and Yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings, surely the best of British in all its meaty glory. The next it could be a fantastic vegetarian dish such as the Turkish Turlu Turlu I made last night, which celebrated top class vegetables in the sweetest of tomato and chick pea sauces. Or perhaps it is a rich treacle tart with clotted cream. AAAGHH! For an enthusiastic foodster like me, that kind of question can confuse my little mind and send it spinning into grub confusion.
Last week I found myself contemplating a large piece of fillet steak in my local butchers. Not my favourite cut of beef, but the fillet of Orkney Gold which my butcher had just taken delivery of had me intrigued. I would always opt for a rump or a sirloin, cuts of beef that are superior in flavour as a result of the marbled fat that runs through it as well as easier on the pocket. But this fillet looked sublime. Lean and mean, and with the added benefit of coming from the environmentally friendly Orkney Islands; I couldn't resist. Two doorstops were procured and quickly rushed home for some quality treatment.
I prefer to lift the subtle flavour of a fillet with a sharp sauce. Some may say that is a crime, but people are people. Seasoned and quickly seared in a very hot pan, 6 minutes in a very hot oven and left to rest. In the 2 minutes of resting period, I had de-glazed the pan with a little brandy then formed into a thick sauce using wholegrain mustard and créme fraiche. A few sauteed new potatoes and roasted mushrooms and tomatoes finished off a quality plate. And there I was eating it, thinking to myself, 'This is the best meal I have ever eaten.'. And at that moment in time, nothing would have changed my mind. So, what is your best ever meal?
The Best Fillet Steak
1x fillet steak, thick end (mine was approximately 3" thick)
Salt and pepper
A splash of brandy (or whisky works just as well)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
4 tbsp créme fraiche
1 - Pre-heat your oven to GM8, 230 degrees C
2 - Season the steak all over with freshly ground salt and pepper.
3 - Heat an oven proof non-stick frying pan so that it is very hot. Quickly seal the steak on all sides until browned then immediately put on a high shelf in the oven. Cook for 5-6 minutes for rare, 8-10 minutes for medium and 12-15 minutes well done. I use the face test - push your cheek with two fingers. The same sensation on your steak means rare. Push your chin for medium and your forehead for well done. It works, honest!
4 - When cooked to your liking, take out of the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.
5 - De-glaze the pan with a splash of brandy, allowing it to catch on the flame but be VERY careful. This will burn off the alcohol. Then spoon in the créme fraiche and mustard and take off the heat once bubbling and thick (be careful it does not split which too much heat may do).
6 - Pour over your steak and serve with your favourite accompaniment. The best meal ever? I'll leave that to you.