Fillet steak is always a treat, often not the most flavoursome of cuts, but truly tender, cutting like butter. Rare is the way I like my fillet, though I suspect this may be too rare for some, in all honesty another minute or so wouldn’t have hurt. Onion rings always seem to be served with steak, but I’m just not a fan of the deep fried and half raw onion.
An onion and anchovy purée is an alternative alium garnish. Sweet, salty and full of umami flavour with the kick of Spanish brandy. Sliced onions, garlic and thyme cook slowly until soft without colour for a good 45 minutes. Flambé with brandy, throw in some anchovies and butter, allow to caramelise, any excess moisture will evaporate, be careful that the pan doesn’t burn, although a little scorching won’t harm, a good thing but you’ll need to pay careful attention, there’s a fine line between caramelised and burnt. Blend the onions, adjust the seasoning, warm through, adding an extra splash of brandy serve when ready.
The cooking of the steak is a purely personal matter, three key points, a hot pan, season generously with flaky sea salt once each side is seared, baste generously with unsalted butter in the last minute of cooking, rest well.
With the richness of the beef and onion, a refreshing contrast is most necessary, sliced tomatoes, dressed with red wine vinegar are a good accompaniment.
Steak often shouts for malbec, but here a syrah from Chile has dark brooding fruit, slightly smokey notes with chewy tannins to complement both the steak and onions.