Valentines Day. Romance! Sugar! Optional Cynicism!
Now usually, we donâ€™t do Valentines. No. Weâ€™re not being sucked into all that red and pink commercialism. Not us. Apart from the year when I bought Jon a card and he took the whole not doing Valentines Day thing seriously, and therefore didnâ€™t. So last year, I didnâ€™t do Valentines Day, as per the agreement. He, once bitten, twice shy, rocked up with a huge box of pink champagne truffles, and I was asshole with nothing.
So this year, Valentines is occurring. I am prepared, and he is forewarned.
Organized and non spontaneous romance is in the diary. Steak is, of course, on the menu.
Steak with bearnaise sauce (serves 2)
This is a seriously elegant treaty steak, ready for romance.2 8â€“10 oz fillet mignon steaks 1 tbsp light olive oil Salt and pepper 2 tbsp butter Â
- Preheat the oven to 400 and put a cast iron pan on the heat to get screamingly hot (5 mins). If you donâ€™t have a cast iron pan, heat up a frying pan
- Rub the steaks with oil, then season well â€“ at least a tsp of salt per steak
- Sear the steaks for 2 mins on every side â€“ this should take about 10 mins
- Top each steak with a tbsp of butter then put the whole pan into the oven (or transfer to a baking tray thatâ€™s been heating up in the oven if youâ€™re using a frying pan with a plastic handle)
- Turn the oven down to 300 and cook the steaks. Check with a thermometer after 5 mins and then again at 2 minute increments (unless you know you like your steak medium to well, in which case, leave it for ten mins.) Rare steak is 120f, medium is 125f
- Take the steak out of the oven, tip onto a board, then cover with foil. Rest for 10 mins at room temp for the juices to go back into the meat
Nowâ€™s a good time to make the sauce:
Yes, this is one of those supposedly tricky butter sauces. Itâ€™s a classic and thereâ€™s a technique to it, but itâ€™s not actually tricky to make and people will love you for it. Itâ€™s made in four stages; 1 â€“ make a reduction so that you have a strong flavor base. 2 â€“ whisk in egg yolks while the bowl is over a pan of steaming water. 3 â€“ whisk in lots of butter. 4 â€“ add fresh tarragon.3 tbsp white wine vinegar 3 tbsp white wine or champagne 3 shallots 2 tbsp tarragon 6 peppercorns 3 eggs 6oz (175g) unsalted butter Â
- Put a pan of water on the heat to start coming up to a simmer
- Now for the reduction; dice the shallots and 1 tbsp of the tarragon and put in a small pan along with the the vinegar, wine and peppercorns. Boil this until you have a 1tbsp of liquid
- Sieve this into a bowl and put the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water
- Separate the yolks from the eggs and whisk them into the reduction until they are light and fluffy. They should leave a slight trail from the whisk
- Cut up the butter into cubes and whisk in, one cube at a time at first, then a few at a time as the sauce thickens. This takes a few minutes
- Take the bowl off the pan of simmering water and add the rest of the chopped tarragon. Season gently and serve over the steak
Add some crusty bread and a green salad or some green beans and you have a feast