On one of the last, warm, long evenings of this summer we wanted to enjoy something with lots of flavours and depth, but we didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Then we remembered a tapenade like mixture that worked nicely with monkfish. Why not combine it with excellent beef? The result was what we hoped for: lots of flavours and we only needed 15 minutes to prepare it.
Enjoy with a glass of full-bodied red wine, for instance Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec. The tannins of such a wine will combine very well with the depth and richness of the tapenade and the beef.
We enjoyed a glass of Les Terrasses Occitanes Fitou produced by Mont Tauch from the Languedoc region in France, made withGrenache, Carignan and Syrah grapes. A not too complex, full bodied dry wine with aromas of red fruit and a lasting taste.
What You Need
150 grams of Excellent Beef (Sirloin, Bavette)
For the Tapenade:
What You Do
Let the beef rest on a plate until it reaches room temperature. This could take an hour. Chop the shallot and the garlic, halve the black olives and remove the thyme leaves from the stalk. If using fresh rosemary, make sure to chop the leaves. Dry the capers with kitchen paper. Mash the anchovies with a fork until you have a paste-like substance. Warm a pan, add some olive oil and glaze the onions. After a few minutes add the garlic. Add the olives, the thyme, the capers and the anchovies. The result should be a rather chunky, rich tapenade. Add olive oil to a hot skillet and quickly fry the beef. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving with the warm tapenade. Add some black pepper.
Not using anchovies is not an option. They bring umami and saltiness to the tapenade. One fillet is enough to have the right result.
When you Google for skate with capers you will find many recipes with capers and brown butter. We think you can do better! The trick in this recipe is to clarify butter and then deep-fry the capers in the clarified butter. The result is a crunchy and salty caper with clear acidity from the brine. This works brilliantly with the meaty, fatty skate.
Butter is an emulsion of butterfat, water and proteins. The process of clarification means breaking down the emulsion. The goal is to have pure butterfat, which will not burn and which allows for deep-frying.
The water will simply go when you warm the butter.
How to remove the proteins? Option one is to start by melting the butter and to wait until you see white foam and until the water is gone. Now pour the fat into a jar or cup, carefully keeping the foam in the pan.
Option two is to continue warming the butter until the white foam becomes brown. Be careful not to burn it, this will ruin your butter. The now brown foam will sink to the bottom, which makes it easier to pour the butterfat in a jar or cup. If you want to be even more sure of the quality, use a cheesecloth when pouring. The idea is that using the second option will give the clarified butter a more nutty taste.
Skate goes really well with a glass of classic Chardonnay with a touch of oak. The chardonnay comes with a velvety taste which is great with the skate and its consistency. The touch of oak combines very well with the fried capers.
What You Need
Skate Wing (let’s say 200 grams for 2 persons)
Capers (in brine)
75 grams of Butter (to be clarified)
What You Do
Clarify the butter and set aside. Fry the skate in a non-sticky pan for 5-10 minutes or so, depending on the size and shape. Please notice that there is more meat on one side then on the other side, so it’s not 10=5+5. Transfer the skate to a warm plate. Heat the clarified butter to frying temperature and in parallel wash the capers and dry them with kitchen paper. Fry the capers until crispy. Serve the skate with some black pepper and sprinkle the capers on top of the skate.
Who came up with the idea to combine veal, tuna, anchovy, mayonnaise and capers? The story goes that in the 19th century veal was prepared as if it was tuna. Sounds a bit far fetched, but tuna wasn’t eaten raw (at least not in Europe) but cooked in water with various herbs and then stored in brine or oil. Tha approach to prepare veal as if it is tuna was described in 1836 by the French Monsieur Burnet in his recipe Manière de donner au veau l’apparence et le goût du thon mariné.
In 1862 (according to Luca Cesari) a medical doctor from Milan was the first to combine tuna and veal.
Not a remarkable ingredient at all!
(Salted) anchovy has been used as a flavour booster in meat dishes and sauces for many centuries. For instance in the combination of leg of lamb with anchovy and garlic it will bring depths, umami and saltiness. When making a remoulade sauce you should not forget to add anchovy. And why not prepare a wonderful French Anchoiade? Or dip your vegetables in Bagna Cauda? And let’s not forget the joy of crusted bread with Tapénade (black olives, capers, garlic, anchovy and olive oil). What would a classic Caesar salad or a salade Niçoise taste like without the anchovies in the dressing? Such a useful fish!
The obvious choice is to drink a glass of Italian white or rosé wine with the vitello tonnato. A fresh wine, with a touch of acidity and not too complex, for instance a Bardolino Chiaretto or a Soave.
What You Do (Classic approach)
Given the origin of Vitello Tonnato the meat should be cooked in water with carrots, onion, leek, clove, bay leaf, thyme and pepper. The trick is not to cook it too long; you want a touch of pink in the meat when it is served. Keep some of the cooking juices to add to the sauce later on. Create the mayonnaise by mixing egg yolks, lemon and a neutral oil (peanut or grape seed oil).
What You Need
150 gram of Veal (top side or silver side)
75 gram of canned Tuna (in brine)
1 Anchovy fillet (or 2 depending on your preference)
Capers (in brine)
What You Do
We prefer to fry the meat, even if it’s historically and culinary incorrect. We think frying is quicker and gives you more control over the cuisson. Plus we feel that cooking the meat means losing flavours. Fry the meat in a heavy iron skillet in some butter and olive oil. Not too hot! Sear the meat, lower the temperature and fry the meat until nicely rosé. Transfer the meat to a sheet of aluminium foil and let rest until lukewarm or cool. Wrap the foil around the meat, let cool and transfer to the refrigerator. Just before serving, blender the tuna, the anchovy, a few capers, the juices from the meat (in the foil) and some lemon juice until completely smooth. Add some mayonnaise to a bowl, add a spoonful of the mixture and taste. Continue until you have the right balance. Thinly slice the veal, serve on a plate and top with the sauce. Make sure some of the meat is still visible. Decorate with the capers.