Monday, February 8, 2016

Nigella's Italian Steak n' Chips - A New Take on a Classic

In my hungover state yesterday I found myself indulging in my ultimate guilty pleasure - watching hours of the Food Network. I love Nigella Lawson, so I  was delighted with a double bill of Nigellisima. In the episode I watched, she made Tagliata and Tuscan Fries. I was positively drooling. And knew that that would be the hangover cure meal for the coming evening, So I pulled out my Nigellisima book and sent my husband off to the shops to get the ingredients.

This is her Italian take on steak and chips, and I'm completely converted and actually very excited to recreate it again next weekend for our Valentine's dinner. I do not have a deep fryer, so I opted for her style of making the chips in a pan with hot oil. I was absolutely terrified making the chips as I can be quiet clumsy in the kitchen and it requires the utmost concentration, so as not to scald yourself. But it is most definitely worth it. Though in hindsight, with a crazy hangover and a hyper toddler running around the kitchen, it was a bold choice.

The idea of marinating the steaks after cooking is sheer brilliance, resulting in an extremely tasty steak, full of flavour and punch. In  Nigella's book, she states that one steak is plenty for two people. In fact stating this is a wonderful way of stretching a steak to two people. Now if Nigella tells you something is enough, then I should have believed her. Greedy guts here cooked two steaks (it would have certainly done four people at a dinner party).  In saying that, me and my husband had no trouble eating everything.

I didn't have the herbs she called for in the Tuscan Fries recipe, but I substituted the sage with basil, and it worked really well, especially seeing as this is an Italian recipe anyway.

With Valentines approaching, this is a stunning elegant steak and chips recipe to make for that someone special.

Serves - 2 greedies/4 adults


For the steak

  • 1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 sirloin steaks

For the chips
  • 4 large rooster potatoes, skins on and cut into thin chips
  • 2 litres of vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic in skins
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
To serve

5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bag of rocket (or designer leaves as Nigella would say)


  1. Start by putting the chips in a deep pan of oil, cold oil. Turn the heat up high and cook for 15 minutes. using a tongs and oven glove to stir every so often. Some of the chips will stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir frequently so you don't loose too many to this fate.
  2. After 15 minutes, carefully drop in the garlic and herbs and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so. The chips tend to float to the top with cooked. Try to get a really brown crispy finish.
  3. Transfer the chips to a warm oven to keep hot while you cook the steaks. The steaks go cold quickly so that's why I suggest making the chips first and keep warm. As trying to keep the steaks warm whilst trying to wait for the chips to cook, will only result in an over cooked steak.
  4. Heat a grill pan until searing hot.
  5. Combine all the steak ingredients, except the steaks, in a shallow baking dish.
  6. Lightly oil the steaks and sear in the pan, 2 minutes a side. The steak will be rare but this is what we want. 
  7. Transfer the steaks to the baking dish with the marinade and let them rest for 2 minutes a side in the marinade.
  8. Remove the steaks to a board and slice very thinly on the diagonal. Meanwhile, put the cherry tomatoes, cut side down. in the marinade and stir them around a bit.
  9. To serve, scatter a serving dish with the rocket. And randomly scatter the slices of steak over the rocket, along with the cherry tomatoes. Pour the remaining marinade over the dish, not wasting a drop of flavour.
  10. Serve with the crispy Tuscan fries.
Tip for the Fries: Chips in my opinion cannot be eaten without salt and vinegar. For these chips, I recommend coarse salt and balsamic vinegar. Delish!!!!!!

Thank you Nigella, as always, you rock!!

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