I once worked as a waitress at a restaurant called Le Relais de Venise, or L’Entrecôte, and I was immediately drawn to its menu, ‘The Formula’: a simple walnut salad with mustard dressing followed by steak and chips smothered in a sauce with 26 different ingredients. The sauce has stuck with me since I was 18, and after trying – unsuccessfully – to prise the secret ingredients out of one of the chefs, I have devised my own, less complicated recipe. Chips are probably this dish’s best friend, but to keep it light you could serve it with grilled or roasted vegetables.
2 rump steaks, about 200g each
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
FOR THE SAUCE
1 anchovy fillet, chopped
60ml olive oil
bunch fresh tarragon leaves (about 50g),
handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Muscat vinegar or white wine vinegar
20g unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, diced
sea salt and black pepper
✽ Remove the steaks from the fridge to allow them to come to room temperature. First, make the sauce. Put the anchovy in a bowl with all the olive oil except 1 tablespoon. Add the herbs, lemon juice, sugar and vinegar. Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large saucepan until melted and hot.
✽ Add the garlic and cook for a moment before adding it to the bowl, stirring everything together and seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside to keep warm. Wipe out the frying pan, place it over a high heat and add half of the groundnut oil. Season the steaks generously with salt, pepper and groundnut oil. Make a few slices into the fat of each steak – this will help render the fat while frying. Once the pan is hot, use tongs to put the meat in the pan and cook for 2 minutes for rare, before turning over and cooking for 1 minute. Quickly brown the sides, then remove and set aside to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
✽ Pour all the meat juices that have seeped out from the meat into the sauce bowl and use a sharp knife to slice the steaks. Heat the sauce in the frying pan. Mix the meat slices in with the sauce and serve with a pinch of salt sprinkled over.