Dinner for four
Flame-grilled porterhouse with herb-roasted tomatoes.
Friends for dinner? Try these simple but sensational dishes from chef Ed Halmagyi.
FLAME-GRILLED PORTERHOUSE WITH HERB-ROASTED TOMATOES
A charcoal fire transforms the flavour of beef – it's a deep, dry heat that caramelises the meat while retaining tenderness.
16 small truss cherry tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves torn
4 x 240g thick-cut porterhouse steaks
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
cooking oil spray
Preheat oven to 130°C. Halve the tomatoes and toss with the dried herbs and olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, then arrange on a baking-paper-lined baking tray and bake for 1 hour until partly dried and wrinkled. Toss with parsley.
Rub steaks with celery salt and white pepper, then spray with cooking oil. Cook over a moderate coal or charcoal fire for 3 minutes on each side (for medium-rare), then set aside to rest for 3 minutes. Serve steaks with tomatoes.
Cook's note: Coal cooking is best for this recipe, but you could also cook the steaks on a regular barbecue.
HEARTY TOMATO SOUP
You need to grow a tomato to really understand it. It's not just the taste and pleasant acidity, it's the smell of the leaves as well.
1kg roma tomatoes, halved lengthways
6 French shallots, peeled and quartered
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 sprigs truss cherry tomatoes (about 400g)
60ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
110g ( cup) dried yellow split peas
1½ litres (6 cups) chicken stock
2 tbsp double cream
1 small handful basil leaves, chopped
crusty bread, to serve
Preheat oven to 220°C. Combine roma tomatoes, shallots, garlic and truss cherry tomatoes in a large roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Season with celery salt and white pepper, then roast for 20 minutes until lightly caramelised.
Transfer roma tomatoes, shallots and garlic to a large saucepan with any roasting juices, reserving truss cherry tomatoes for garnish. Pour in split peas and stock, then simmer over moderate heat for 45 minutes until peas are very soft. Purée with a hand blender, then fold in cream and basil.
Serve soup with crusty bread and roasted truss cherry tomatoes on the side.
POACHED PEARS WITH SAFFRON AND VANILLA SYRUP
For the best poached pears you need a firm-textured fruit. Beurré bosc are great, or you can use a slightly under-ripe packham.
zest of 2 oranges
330g (1½ cups) caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
1 pinch saffron threads
1 litre (4 cups) water
4 beurré bosc pears
whipped cream, to serve
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the orange zest, then cut it into fine strips. Combine with sugar, vanilla, saffron and water in a saucepan and set over moderate heat. Bring to the boil, then turn heat to low.
Peel pears and use a melon baller to remove the core from underneath. Place in the syrup and weigh down with a small plate. Cook gently over a low heat for 40 minutes, until just tender. Remove pears and set aside to cool.
Boil the poaching liquid for 15 minutes until syrupy, then spoon over pears. Serve with whipped cream.
Photography: John Paul Urizar. Styling: Matt Page. Recipes from The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally by Fast Ed Halmagyi (HarperCollins, $40).
From: Sunday Life