The essence of eating for two exists in just one word: steak... there's something solid, old-fashioned and comforting about the two of you sitting down and eating steak.
I made a steak béarnaise for lunch today, which is the last remaining steak recipe in the book. Upon making it, I realised that I've never actually made a steak for 2. When I made the low fat steak, it was for 3 of us, and when I made steak au poivre, I made it, greedily, for myself. And today's steak béarnaise was for the whole family. But I'm so glad we all got to eat it, because it was certainly the most delicious out of all the How to Eat steaks!
A steak béarnaise, made well, is one of life's great pleasures. Bérnaise sauce is similar in method to hollandaise sauce, but with different ingredients.
You start off by reducing white wine vinegar with shallots, tarragon and peppercorns.
Then you strain out the bits, and whisk the liquid with some egg yolks and water in a double boiler. After this, you whisk in softened cubes of butter, one cube at a time, until it is all thick and emulsified. I fried our sirloin steaks while this was going on. In the recipe, the only instructions Nigella gives are to fry a steak "as a steak is fried". So, I used the method I recently saw Giada De Laurentiis use on her program, Everyday Italian. That is, you oil and season the steaks, and then fry them for a 5 minutes a side on a very high heat, thus giving the steaks a delicious brown crust on the outside. And I let them rest as I finished the sauce.
To finish the sauce, you add some lemon juice to the emulsified mixture, followed by more fresh chopped tarragon.
The traditional accompaniment for steak béarnaise is french fries, but Nigella suggests baguette with salad, which is a fine accompaniment. Besides, home-baked chips are pretty gross, as are the chips from the fish and chip shop around the corner.
I really cannot describe how lovely this lunch was. The steaks (thank-you Rendinas!) were great, and the béarnaise sauce was just incredible. The method for the béarnaise may be very close to the hollandaise, but the flavour is just on a completely different level.
Daniel: Thank-you Sarah, that was brilliant!