After a long day in the saddle with my horse, what better than to come over all gaucho-like and feast on a delicious steak for supper? Actually, I tell a bit of a fib, as my steak was more continental Europe, than South America… I decided to cook up a tagliata di manzo (literally: slices of beef) and one of my “dessert island five” dishes. Although I cannot take a trip to Tuscany without eating this dish, tonight, surprisingly was my first attempt at cooking it – but I think I cracked it (however I would say that this is actually an incredibly simple dish – the key to getting it right is in the quality of the ingredients). Because the t-bone steak that I purchased was slightly on the small side (it was late in the day and it was all the butcher had left) I ended up taking home a couple of small fillets as well (I cooked these in the same way and the outcome of which can only be described as uncious). Despite the fact that tagliata di manzo is best served with patate fritte (shoe string chips), I was feeling in a slightly healthier mood (and more to the point, couldn’t face chopping up a load of potatoes to make them) and so served the beef up with some cannellini beans.
Ingredients for the tagliata di manzo
Salt & Pepper
(Serving of lemon, optional)
Throw some salt, pepper and olive oil onto the steak just before cooking, heat up a griddle pan until smoking (this dish would perform better on a charcoal grill, but it’s winter and the cooking staying indoors for the next few months thank you very much) and then throw the steak onto the grill for a few minutes each side. The steak MUST be cooked RARE – it would be sacrilege to do anything otherwise. In the meantime, place a bed of rocket onto a plate, shave some parmesan cheese and when the meat is ready, slice it into thin slices and then place it onto it’s rocket bed and under its parmesan duvet. Dress with olive oil and balsamic. Due to the simplicity of the dish, it’s immensely important to purchase the best quality ingredients that you can.
Ingredients for the cannellini beans
220g Cannellini beans (I cheated and bought the jarred version from “Le conserve della nonna” which is the best ready to use bean you can buy (according to the man at the Italian shop))
good quality olive oil (around 100 – 150ml)
pepper and salt
Thinly slice the garlic and sage. Put the olive oil into a gently heating saucepan and then add the garlic and sage as well. The aim of this exercise is to flavour the oil, rather than to cook the garlic. Leave this warming through for as long as you like – I let it sit for around 15 minutes. At this point fish out the garlic as the flavours here should be subtle (although I did leave a few slices in) then add the beans to the oil and when all heated through, take off the heat, pepper and salt as required and add a few more fresh pieces of sage to finish.