If you’re looking for a Valentine’s recipe that has ingredients made into a heart shape or edible flowers, then this won’t be what you’re looking for. Instead, this is a recipe for an unashamedly indulgent dinner for two, using a collection of the best quality ingredients, that will be a treat for you and whoever you may be cooking for. A hefty hunk of beef rib eye is partnered with a rich, smooth and buttery mashed potato, laced with Artichoke and Truffle pesto and to cut through these, a seasonal kale salad is dressed simply with aged balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.
1kg potatoes, we used maris piper
200ml whole or semi skimmed milk
110g unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1kg piece of rib eye, on the bone
200g kale, whole leaves and stalks, not pre chopped (cavolo nero also works)
½ clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped or pushed through a garlic squeezer
1/2 round shallot or 1 spring onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 ½ tbsp Early Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil
40g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Heat your oven to 180C fan/200C non-fan. Place the potatoes on a baking tray and cook in the oven for around 1 hour. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they may take longer than this to cook, but they need to be completely cooked through, so test them with a sharp knife to make sure they are completely soft.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking, take the beef our of the fridge to allow it to come up to room temperature.
Prepare the salad. Place the pine nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until a very light golden-brown colour. Take care as these can burn very easily.
Strip the leaves of the kale from the stalks and place in a bowl (keep the stalks for chopping and blanch or using in a soup). Season with salt and a small drop of olive oil and massage the leaves to tenderise them, for about 5 minutes, then set aside. Combine the chopped garlic and shallot/spring onion with the balsamic vinegar and remaining olive oil and set aside.
When the potatoes are cooked, remove from the oven. Get everything you need to make the mash to hand and warm the milk in a small or medium pan (you will then use this pan to make the mash in). Its important to keep the mash warm when you’re making it, otherwise it can tighten up and lose its silky texture.
Take around half of the milk out of the pan and set aside. You may or may not need more milk, depending on how much potato flesh you get from your potatoes. Use a tea towel to hold the potatoes and use a small knife to make a slit from top to bottom on each potato, then open them up and scoop out the flesh using a spoon. To get really smooth mash, push the flesh through a potato ricer straight onto the warmed milk. If you don’t have a potato rice, then a sieve will also work, but you will need a spatula to push the flesh through.
Once all the flesh has been put through the ricer or sieve, place the pan on a medium heat and beat the potato flesh with a spatula to mix in with the milk. Add the ¼ tsp salt and 80g diced butter and now beat again to emulsify the butter with the mash. Once all the butter has been incorporated, add the pesto and mix through. You want the mash to be quite loose, so it almost pours off a spoon. Add more warm milk in stages, incorporating every time, till you have a loose, smooth, silky mash, that is almost like a pure. Taste and add more salt if you think necessary (the pesto will have helped to season it) and a little pepper. Cover with baking paper and then a lid and keep somewhere warm whilst you cook the steak. You can make this mash ahead. To revive it, warm some milk in the bottom of a pan then add the mash back into this in stages, again beating all the time to prevent lumps forming.
Set your oven to 150C fan / 170C non-fan. To cook the steak, place a frying pan on a medium to high heat. Season the steak liberally with salt and pepper. Place a very small drop of oil in the pan then lay the fatty, outside edge of the steak on top. Cooking this part first allows the fat to render, which will then help cook the other outer edges. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the fat has brown and looks crispy. Carefully turn the steak to begin cooking one of the other outer edges. Cook for around 4 minutes. The heat should be hot enough to give the meat a dark brown crust, but not full blast. There will be a bit of smoke coming from the frying beef fat and you will definitely need to have your extraction on full for this part. Repeat on the other side of the beef and cook for a similar amount of time, then seal any untouched outer edges. This constant, non-aggressive cooking of all the edges is what will give the steak a delicious crust and plenty of flavour.
Add the remaining 30g of butter to the pan and as it melts and foams, spoon over the beef for a minute, then turn the beef over and repeat on the other side. Take off the heat if the butter begins to darken. If you want a very rare steak, it probably may only need a few minutes in the oven, if any at all, but for rare to medium rare, place the steak (ideally in the frying pan that it has been cooked) and cook for about 3 minutes, then take out, turn the steak over and cook for another 3 minutes. Because the beef has been cooked from room rather than fridge temperature, and as it has had a fair bit of time in the pan already, it doesn’t take as long as you might think. The easiest way to judge is by using a temperature probe, (40-45C = rare, 45-50C medium rare), but prod it with your fingers – the softer it feels, the less cooked it is, the firmer and springier, the more cooked. For medium rare, it should be soft, but with a little bit of spring to it. if you want the steak cooked more, cook for another 3-4 minutes on each side. For well done, it will probably need around 20 minutes in the oven in total. Once cooked, allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Whilst the steak is resting, make sure your mash is still warm. To assemble the salad, dress the kale with the balsamic dressing and toss to combine. Taste and add a little more salt if needed. Divide between plates or arrange in a bowl, then shave the parmesan over the top with a peeler.
To carve the steak, place on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to remove the bone by following the inside edge of it. Cut the triangular piece that is next to the bone off from the main part of the steak, and slice in two through the middle. Now carve the main part, cutting along the longer side of the steak, slicing into 1cm thick pieces. Arrange on warm plates or a warm serving platter, season with salt and pepper and spoon over some of the juices from the pan. Serve with the mashed potato and salad.