So many memories of travelling along the coast of Spain! As I was working on a hugely expensive yacht class cruise, we avoided resorts full of British bars and donkey souvenirs and luckily went to out of the way ports with truly Spanish restaurants to delight the taste buds! Complex flavors, but simple preparation using locally produced high quality ingredients.
This dish is just that – simple and fast to prepare. However, the final result has a complexity of flavor, sweetness from the sherry and peppers, with depth from the steak and paprika. Mint adds lightness, but the dish also has a certain saltiness to it, through the jarred peppers and the adding of salt.
So where to go with the wine? Well you could cook with the same sherry and drink it! That would probably be the first choice. However, I personally am not that excited about drinking sherry with food! I like sherry, but prefer it as an aperitif. Yes, difficult, I know!! So, I would still want to stay with Spanish wine and go for a medium bodied Rioja Reserva. It has moderate tannins so should not be too harsh against the slight sweetness of the food, while working with the slight saltiness and the beef. The sweet coconut flavours of the oaking helps to blend this wine well with the food.
1 kg floury potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves peeled
2 bay leaves
Coarse sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
4 slices of steak (fillet, sirloin, rump or escalopes) sliced into strips
2 tbsp EVOO
1 rosemary sprig
1 garlic clove
1 jar roasted peppers or piquillo peppers drained & sliced
6 tbsp sherry (sweet cream or oloroso if you prefer drier)
4 mint sprigs chopped
2 cos lettuce sliced
pinch of hot smoked paprika
coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
To make the mash;
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with a good pinch of coarse sea salt, the garlic and the bay leaves. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. (Good time to prep ingredients for beef).
Drain and stand the colander over the saucepan for a few minutes so potatoes steam in own heat. Put the potatoes back in the pan and mash. Slowly add the olive oil stirring until combined. season.
Season the beef steak strips with the salt & pepper.
Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet/frying pan over a high heat. Add the beef and the sprig of rosemary. Stir fry for 1 minute. As the meat begins to brown, add the garlic & the pepper slices. Cook for another minute and then pour in the sherry. Let it bubble until evaporated- 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in half of the mint.Season to taste.
Place olive mash on the plates and top with the cos lettuce strips. Place the steak on top and sprinkle with remaining mint and the paprika.
Sip some of that lovely rioja (or sherry) say CHEERS! & tuck in to great food made in minutes rather than hours!!