Over the past two weeks I have had nothing but vegetarian, fish and chicken, so I was truly looking forward to having some beef back on the dinner menu. Luck had it that fillet steak - my favourite cut, was on special at the local supermarket so I pounced on it with the eagerness of a tiger who hadn’t eaten for a month.
And I’m glad I did – the meal was one of the best I’ve had in a while. And cooked at home! It just goes to show how fresh ingredients and a little imagination can help create the most delicious flavour combinations.
This basic ‘steak, potato and veg’ recipe can be whipped up in minutes, but what makes it stand out from your everyday meal is the sweet and silky smooth vanilla bean hollandaise. The Moroccans cook with cinnamon, the French cook with cocoa, so why not add some vanilla to a traditionally savoury dish?
The vanilla bean hollandaise is light and airy. Its delicate balance of sweetness and acidity helps to marry the beefy flavour of the meat with the earthy flavours of the vegetables. Whether you choose to add the prawns for a surf and turf version, or go with the steak on its own, is really up to you – the sauce goes well with either.
While I’m by no means a great wine buff, I’ve found the 2008 Wolf Blass Gold Label Langhorne Creek Pinot Noir with underlying notes of vanilla and raspberry was the perfect match for this dish. If you enjoy a glass of wine with your meal, try to look for a pinot or a blend with similar characteristics.
Beef fillet steak with vanilla bean hollandaise, prawns, potato and pea mash
- 4 beef fillet steaks, 270g each
- 12 raw shelled prawns, butterflied
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 cup freshly shelled peas // frozen peas
- 2 egg yolks
- 90g butter
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split longways
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 4 tbsp milk
- freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil for frying
Shape steaks into rounds and tie into shape with kitchen string. Sprinkle with some freshly ground pepper. Allow to ‘air-dry’ uncovered in the fridge for about 3 hours – this is not necessary, but the meat will have a much deeper flavour that way.
Place diced potatoes in a saucepan of salted water and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Place peas in another saucepan, cover with water and boil for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat oil in a frypan and fry the steaks for approx 4 minutes on each side (for medium, 270g steak).
To make the sauce, place vanilla pod and butter in a small saucepan and bring butter to a bubbling boil. Remove from heat. Using tongs, remove vanilla pod from the pan, scrape vanilla bean out of the pod and place into the butter. Mix to distribute.
Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice in a small jug* for about 10 seconds – I use a handheld blender with a whisk attachment for this. Pour in the warm butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream, whisking continuously. Add icing sugar and 2 tbsp milk to sweeten and thin the sauce lightly.
Allow steaks to rest in the pan for about 2 minutes after cooking. During that time fry the prawns until lightly caramelised on each side. Drain both potatoes and peas. Add 4 tbsp milk to the potatoes and mash, mix in the peas.
To serve, place a generous serving of the mash and peas on the bottom, top with steak and prawns. Spoon the hollandaise sauce over the prawns, steak and around the mash. Consume with glee.
*Tip: You can use BlueTack to secure the jug to the benchtop surface and prevent it from spinning.
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