Rib-eye steak with chips

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The perfect rib-eye steak is surprisingly easy to achieve. But you need really good meat, blazing heat and the confidence to know when it’s done. Grass-fed, well-aged beef from a named farm and a named breed, say Aberdeen Angus or Dexter, is going to be expensive; but all grilling steak is pricey, and I’d rather have something exceptional once in a blue moon than a tasteless or tough steak more often.

The blazing heat could be a barbecue, grill or frying pan, the easiest of which is probably the pan. You just have to be prepared for a bit of splattering: trust me, it’s worth it. And who can resist fresh-from-the-fryer chips? I like them any way at all: classic French fries, matchstick thin, potato skins, fried in beef dripping or goose fat. But most of all I like them as big, fat, rectangular blocks, twice-fried, skin on, then dusted with curry powder and salt. That’s how we served them at The Hoxton Apprentice, a charity restaurant I helped set up to train disadvantaged young people to be cooks. We ate rather more of them than the customers!

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Ingredients

  • 4 x 220 g sirloin steaks
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to season

For the chips

  • 800 g Maris Piper potatoes
  • 600 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp mild curry powder

For the herb butter

  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 80 g butter, softened
  • salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Remove the steak from the fridge about half an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. Leaving the skin on, cut the potatoes into chunky, stubby 2.5cm (1in) chips. Pour the vegetable oil into a large, heavy-based saucepan – it should reach about 5 cm (2in) deep – and place over a high heat. If you own a cooking thermometer, bring the temperature of the oil to about 130°C; if not, add a raw chip or cube of bread to the oil – when it starts to float and fry, the oil is hot enough.
  3. Use a large metal spoon or sieve to gently lower the chips into the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes, until they are tender when poked with a skewer but not browned. For this first frying (the chips are going in twice), the oil should bubble, but not too vigorously. Drain the chips on kitchen paper and set aside until completely cold.
  4. Make the herb butter by mashing all the ingredients together. Form into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.
  5. Heat a large, heavy frying pan or griddle over a high heat. Rub each steak with olive oil and season generously on both sides. Once the pan is really hot, add two of the steaks. For medium-rare, cook the steaks for about 3 minutes without moving them, then turn them over. You can tell when they are ready to turn, because the heat under them will have forced the juices to the surface and the top of the steak will look moist and shiny. At that stage they should be browned. Give them 2 minutes or so on the other side, then remove from the pan and allow to rest on a warm plate loosely covered with foil and a clean tea towel. Cook the other steaks and leave them all to rest while you finish the chips.
  6. Heat the oil again, this time to 135°C. If necessary, cook the chips in two batches so as not to lower the oil temperature too much. Lower the once-cooked chips into the oil using a metal spoon or sieve and fry for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown. Lift them from the fryer and drop into a bowl lined with kitchen paper. Shake them around a little before removing the paper and gently tossing the chips in curry powder and salt. Mix to combine.
  7. Just before serving, top each steak with a slice of herb butter. Serve the chips in the middle of the table for diners to help themselves (or try to resist temptation!)