bavette steak with salsa verde, twice-fried chips, artichoke salad and ciabatta bread

Bavette steak is such a treasure. High-end restaurants have begun featuring cheaper cuts of beef on their menus, including bavette alongside flank, blade and hanger steaks, for approximately £15 and turning over a tidy profit. A decent sized piece of this meat, otherwise known as beef skirt by butchers, will only set you back approx. £6-7 for a portion large enough to serve 4 people. You can also slow cook beef skirt in stews, so it’s an extremely versatile and cost effective meat.

I love to use beef skirt as a centre piece and really champion this cheap and tasty cut, as it makes a great sharing plate – check out my Korean bulgogi recipe for another take on this meat: korean bulgogi-style beef

On this occasion, I decide to take it down an Italian route. Salsa verde is tangy and herby, and undeniably Italian – the sharpness of the red wine vinegar, capers and gherkin cut through the freshness of fragrant parsley, mint and basil. It’s also surprisingly delicious to dunk your chips into! This dish was also be great with polenta chips – I’ll be trying this next time!

I served the ciabatta bread alongside this dish to dunk into the left over salsa verde, but it would also make a great starter alongside dipping oils. It’s surprisingly easy to make – just don’t be alarmed by how wet the dough is! And be careful not to know too much air out of it when shaping it – one of the beauties of ciabatta is the air pockets inside.

A side note regarding the salad – if you live in the UK like I do, you’ll realise how difficult it can be to get your hands on fresh artichokes. If you can’t, take a look at the jarred antipasti goods as you can often buy marinated artichokes in olive oil. Alternatively, most supermarkets also sell tinned artichokes in water, which work surprisingly well.

I’ve split the recipe up for you, so if you want to just give one part a try then you can!

serves 4

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bavette steak with salsa verde

ingredients

700-800g piece of beef skirt

knob of butter

splash of olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp gherkins/cornichons, finely chopped

2 tbsp capers, finely chopped

2 x garlic cloves, minced

2 x handfuls fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 x handful fresh mint, finely chopped

1 x handful fresh basil, finely chopped

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

6 tbsp olive oil

lemon juice, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

method

  1. to make the salsa verde, combine the gherkins, capers, garlic and fresh herbs together in a bowl. add the red wine vinegar and mustard, and stir well.
  2. while slowly pouring in the olive oil, stir the mixture until it reaches a thick consistency. this salsa is quite sharp, so season and add lemon juice to your own tastes.
  3. for the bavette steak, it’s up to you whether you want to portion it into individual steaks or serve as one large centrepiece. it looks so grand in the middle of the table as one big piece of meat sliced up, so i’d definitely recommend it! heat the butter in a griddle pan over a medium-high heat until melted, then add a splash of olive oil – this will help to stop the butter burning in the hot pan. once the pan is searing hot, add the meat. this cut is quite thin and cooks quickly – 4 minutes either side for a piece this large should end up rare/medium rare but ensure that you keep checking. set aside to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  4. slice up the steak and drizzle over the salsa verde.

twice-fried chips

ingredients

4 x large potatoes – i would always recommend maris pipers as you get a lovely fluffy chip!

sunflower oil, for frying

salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. peel your potatoes, and cut them into chunky chip shapes. they don’t have to be perfect – remember, all of those uneven bits crisp up brilliantly! par-boil the chips in salted water. drain, and set aside to cool. this stage is important, as this will ensure that your chips are soft and fluffy inside, rather than hard and undercooked.
  2. once the chips are fully cooled, it’s time for the first fry! heat the sunflower oil in a deep pan to approx 130-135ºc. to test whether or not it’s ready, drop in a small chunk of bread – if the oil bubbles and the bread begins to turn golden brown, it’s hot enough!
  3. gently lower the chips into the oil and fry until just turning golden. remove using a metal slotted spoon, drain and set aside to cool. remove oil from the heat, but keep to use for the next fry. it’s important that you allow the chips to cool – they’ll crisp up more if added to the oil when cold.
  4. when you’re nearly ready to serve (10-15 minutes away), repeat steps 2 and 3. you should be left with some delicious, crispy chips!

artichoke salad

ingredients

2 x large handfuls of fresh salad leaves, washed

150g baby plum tomatoes, halved lengthways

4-6 artichoke hearts, quartered

1/4 cucumber, diced

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

fresh parsley leaves, to garnish

cracked black pepper, to taste

method

toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl. ta da!

ciabatta bread – paul hollywood’s fail-safe recipe!

ingredients

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

10g salt

10g instant yeast

method

  1. add the flour, salt and yeast (paul advises not to put the salt directly on top of the yeast!) with 330ml tepid water into a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook (don’t put the salt directly on top of the yeast). begin mixing on a slow speed. you’ll notice that the dough is very wet and may well begin to clog up on the dough hooks – bear with it! it will eventually come together, you may just need to occasionally stop the mixer throughout the process and scrape the dough back into the bowl.
  2. as the dough starts to come together, with the motor running, gradually add another 110ml tepid water. mix for a further 5-8 minutes on a medium speed until the dough is smooth and stretchy.

  3. lightly oil a large square plastic tab – again, paul advises that it’s important to use a square tub as it helps shape the dough to keep that distinctive ciabatta shape. carefully tip the dough into the oiled container and either seal with a lid or cover with a tea towel.. Leave for 1½ to 2 hours at room temperature, or until at least doubled, even trebled in size.

  4. line 2 baking trays with baking paper and dust with flour.

  5. dust your work surface heavily with flour and carefully tip out the dough (it will be very wet) – trying to retain a rough square shape.

  6. rather than knocking it back like you typically would with a bread dough, handle it gently so you can keep as much air in the dough as possible. coat the top of the dough with more flour.

  7. cut the dough lengthways, dividing into either two or four equally-sized loaves. stretch each piece of dough lengthways a little and place on the prepared baking trays. leave the ciabatta to rest for a further 30 minutes.

  8. preheat the oven to 220ºc and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaves are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the base. leave to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

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