We all know that anchovy marries well with lamb. For some reason the salted fish can compliment meat quite extraordinary, giving depth and flavour. 'You don't taste the fish, only the meat' is the enthusiast's cry. The anchovy breaks down and mingles with the sauce and meat juice and looses its individual identity. So perhaps it will work with beef too.
I got the beef cheap. Who doesn't like a reduction? Only good, cheap food tastes better than good food. Not only on a half-price deal but further reduced! £1.75 for two modest but adequately sized rump steaks. How grand.
I decided to go for a gentle bean stew flavoured with garlic and anchovy and topped with the sliced medium-rare beef. This 'meat on stuff' is something that seems to pop up in the St John school of cookery from time to time (and in it's satellite restaurants by default) and I rather like it.
- beef, or lamb - or pork?
- onion and garlic
- dried chili
- a little feta or similar cheese if you have some to hand
Chop your onion, carrot and garlic fine. The carrot is very important here I found - a welcome sweet note amongst the other macho flavours. Fry them in olive oil gently and unhurriedly. You will need around 15 minutes or so. Add some crumbled dried chilli and your anchovies. Go easy with the little devils. I actually used Gentleman's relish instead which is a good back-up to have in the fridge.
Add you beans - if you have time then soak some, otherwise canned will do fine. Relax, it's a week night. I went for a giant tin of wachtelbonhnen from one of my favourite Turkish grocers on Hoxton Street, which turned out, I think, to be pinto beans. Don't add to much liquid from the can. Season.
When the beans are looking fine and dandy fry your steak and give it a couple of minutes to rest. Slice into semi-ribbons, flop it over the beans and dress with crumbled feta or similar and olive oil.
Here the beans play as important a role as the steak. It's not an all-out meat-fest where the beef is king and all other ingredients mere lackeys. It's balanced. Have some nice red wine or maybe a strong beer with it, and Turkish bread.