After doing wanders to Camembert, I’m employing my second fig to do wanders to a beautiful prime fillet steak
I’m usually very traditional with my steak – simply seasoned and flash grilled on a smoking hot skillet does it for me. But this time I want to take my time with it and give it some proper attention. And I want to really make the fig stand out. I have been “chewing” on flavours and combinations in my head for the whole morning and I think I’ve got a pretty clear idea what I want to do now…
Here is what I came up with and, not that I want to blow my own trumpet, it worked out beautifully! Red wine braised fillet on a bed of fennel and new potato mash, with fig jus
It was quiet laborious (not difficult, just time consuming, so prepare ahead) but well worth it! a real special occasion meal. Good thing is you can get you braising liquid, your jus and your mash made in advance and just cook the steaks at dinner time!
Here is what I had to play with:
1 fillet steak (alone today, but the quantities below will easily cook 2. double the quantities for 4).
Make sure your steak is at room temperature when you are ready to cook it
For the braising liquid:
4 cups of good red wine (Merlot, Pinot Noir etc)
6 heaped tbsp fig jam (if you can not find any fig jam, use strawberry instead)
3 garlic cloves
1 fresh fig
2 rosemary sprigs
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs
20 whole peppercorns and a tbsp of Cornish salt
3 fresh bay leaf
All the ingredients go in a deep pan ( except I cut a sliver of the fig for decoration later). Bring to boil, reduce the heat slightly and let it bubble away for at least 25 minutes. The liquid should reduce in half for the flavours in it to mature and combine well. A strong, flavoursome liquid will give you a great tasting steak at the end.
For the mash: (double the quantities if you are cooking for 4 people)
250 gr new potatoes
1 head fresh fennel
10 cm piece of fresh ginger
2 star anise
1 tbsp Cornish salt
10 whole peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
Peel and chop the potatoes in half. Cop the fennel roughly. Peel and grate the ginger and remove the stringy bits. Put all in a deep pan, cover with cold water and bring to a rapid boil. Cook for 20 min or until the potatoes and fennel are very soft to the touch. Drain, discard the black peppercorns and star anise and transfer to a bowl. Add a tsp of butter and mash together well. Pass through a sieve for a very smooth mash. Set aside and keep warm.
Let’s get back to the braising liquid now. It should have reduced by half by now, smelling lovely and looking rich and glossy. Take off the heat and strain the liquid into another pan. Take out the fig, onions and garlic and run through a blender for a few minutes. Try and get the mixture as fine as possible. Strain through a sieve (you may need to do that a few times, just to make sure you end up with a very smooth pure) and put in a small pan. Add a 1/4 cup of the braising liquid and bring to boil. Turn the heat to low and leave it to reduce right down.
Bring the braising liquid back to boil. Submerge your steak in it (it has to be covered completely)Put a lid (or a large plate if you don’t have a lid) on the pan, take off the heat and set a timer for exactly 25 minutes. This will give you an absolutely perfect medium, tender, deeply flavoured throughout steak. Take out of the liquid and sit it on a plate to rest for 2-3 min before slicing. While the steak is resting, plate your mash (I’ve used a presentation ring, just cause I’m feeling like a perfectionist today ;-). Slice the steak and enjoy the sight for a second….What a beau!
Fan the slices on top of the smooth mash and glaze with the reduced fig-wine jusPut a few rocket leaves on top and finish with the fig slice you kept for presentation. Drizzle some more of the jus around the plate and here you have it! Pure perfection! And if I can do it, you can do it too!