Roberta says: “In Italy, steak is usually served sliced into strips – bistecca tagliata (tagliata meaning ‘cut’), which I think looks much more appealing than a big slab of meat on the plate. It’s often served with a salad of rocket and shaved parmesan, but any salad works well, some recipes marinate it while others don’t, and any cut of steak can be used … it’s quick and versatile. The key tricks are allowing the meat to come to room temperature and getting your pan or grill good and hot before cooking it, then setting it aside to rest after it’s been cooked, to allow the fibres to relax and the juices to spread evenly throughout, ensuring that it’s tender and juicy – the rest is up to you. I’ve added one of my favourite condiments, salsa verde, but you could just as easily serve it with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a lemon wedge. Salsa verde is a great sauce to have in your repertoire, it’s delicious drizzled over just about everything – prawns, poultry and vegetables as well as steak. So next time you fire up the barbie, think Italian!”
Beef Tagliata with Salsa Verde
4 x 250g sirloin steaks
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Salt flakes, to taste
Salad, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving
2 firmly packed cups parsley leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed
7 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Remove steaks from the fridge 30 minutes or so before cooking, to bring them to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make Salsa Verde: combine all ingredients in a food processor. Set aside.
Heat a barbecue or char-grill pan.
Drizzle steaks well with oil, rubbing it all over both sides. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt.
Cook steaks for about 3 minutes each side for medium-rare, or to your liking.
Place steaks on a warm plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
Cut steaks on the diagonal, against the grain, into slices about 1cm thick.
Arrange on plates, drizzle with a little Salsa Verde and serve with salad, bread and extra Salsa Verde on the side.
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I was fortunate to meet Roberta Muir when she visited Cape Town some years ago. Roberta Muir has managed Sydney Seafood School, Australia’s largest recreational cooking school, since 1997. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide and is a qualified cheese judge. She is the author of the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook (Penguin/Lantern, 2012) and 500 Cheeses (Quintet, 2010) and co-author of A Lombardian Cookbook with chef Alessandro Pavoni (Penguin/Lantern, 2015) and A Sardinian Cookbook with chef Giovanni Pilu (Penguin/Lantern, 2012). She also assisted chef Janni Kyritsis with his cookbook Wild Weed Pie (Penguin/Lantern, 2006). Her passion for food, wine and foreign cultures has led her on adventures in Europe, Africa, Turkey, North America and South East and Central Asia. In her spare time, she reviews restaurants, writes freelance food, wine and travel articles, is a keen cook and an enthusiastic diner. She lives in Sydney with her husband, musician, photographer and fellow foodie, Franz Scheurer.
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