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Sometimes there are recipes that change your whole way of making something. In part, Julia Turshen’s celebrated book Small Victories has given me two of these: I don’t think I’ll ever make a different veggie lasagna to her ‘A Nice Lasagna‘ (even though it was the first lasagna I’ve ever made), and now I’m not sure I’ll ever cook myself a steak without making some of her Pickled Jalapeño Relish to go on the side.
Between around April when it starts to get hot and the beginning of October when it gets too cool any steak at my parents house is cooked on the barbecue (and sometimes earlier and later to be eaten inside at their French house where my Dad has built a special barbecue) because the flavour is just so much better. However, if like me you live in a small city flat and you don’t have the facility to barbecue, just pan searing your steak how you like it (I’m a rare girl all the way) will do, and the simple relish that can be made in the time the steak takes to rest (make your salad while it is coming up to room temperature from the fridge before cooking) will elevate it to being as mouthwatering as if it was cooked over coals.
Oh Small Victories. I’ve already found two firm favourites from you, and there is still so much more to try. I have these make ahead breakfast ‘obsessions’ that I eat every morning for weeks but then get bored and need to move onto the next one, and I want to Korean-style Gravlax to become one of these. I’m saving up parmesan rinds in the freezer to make the Parmesan Soup with Tiny Pasta + Peas, and how awesome does Pickle Brine Potato Salad sound? And then there are the Turkey + Ricotta Meatballs, the Korean Clambake and the Rum Punch that seems to be doing the rounds online. So much to cook, and so little time.
So, the steak. While I’d love to go off to a butcher and get the perfect piece, I spend enough on fancy salt and olive oil, and I will admit to really, really loving those steaks with the red and white label from Waitrose that are sometimes 3 of £10. I fill my freezer with them. The recipe below assumes you have a steak each (or you can get a big one and slice it between two) and the relish amount is just for one; while it keeps quite well, only make a bulk of it if you know you’re going to have burgers to spoon it into on the barbecue in the next few days, or something like that, as without a robust meat it is quite hard to pair with other flavours.
This easy relish goes fantastically with steak to give a boost to what would otherwise be a boring weeknight dinner. And it can be on the table in just 10 minutes!
1 Boneless Steak
Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
20g Pickled Jalapeños (from a jar)
Small Handful Fresh Coriander
Zest and Juice of 1/2 Lime
Sort out whatever sides you fancy while the steak comes up to room temperature from the fridge. I went for some buttery salad leaves, spring onions and cucumber to keep things light.
Heat a frying pan to a very high heat, season the steak with salt and pepper on each side, and cook until brown and slightly caramelized on one side, then flip and do the same on the other for a few minutes. You’ll learn how you like your steak after a few goes.
Set it aside on a warm plate covered with tin foil to rest, and make the relish by finely chopping the jalapeños and the coriander, and combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve either on the side of a whole steak, or spooned over it sliced.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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My second cookbook contains 100 delicious dinner recipes, all of which are either vegetarian, vegan or which celebrate fish and seafood - all cooked in either one pot or one pan.*