Surf & Turf for April from Chef Nico Simeone.
By Sharon Wilson
Steak is a real treat. Most restaurant menus include various cuts and everyone has their preferred way of cooking them. Rib-eye medium rare Chez Bite please but move back a bit from the ribcage of the beast and you get to the underbelly or tenderloin also known as Chateaubriand. Filet mignon is the tip which serves one, the Chateaubriand is for two.
French words on menus can be intimidating even for those of us who had a school ‘mam’ (Miss Chettle: specs, demi-wave, tweed skirt) drilling the language into us from an age as tender as this cut of steak. All you really need to know is that it is an uber-succulent tubular fillet of beef with very little fat.
A recent Blindboy podcast I listened to pointed out that lobster (or shellfish) used to be food for poor people. However, to increase its culinary value companies began to pair it with beef on for example, posh train journeys and to advertise it as a luxury. This is how surf & turf got its rep.
Chateau-X Surf &Turf is one of a range of dishes from the series Home-X from Chef Nico Simeone famous for his imaginative Six-by-Nico tasting menus at restaurants in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester, Liverpool and London.
Our gastronomic experience arrives in a sturdy quality box that could easily house a piece of designer clothing. Lifting the lid reveals four compartments containing N’duja-spiced new potatoes, beef-fat carrots, steak with cep, marinated with prawns and relais butter (plus Française) and chocolate and orange fondant. All goes into the fridge apart from a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and we wait for Friday aka treat night.
There is some ritual involved with the cooking/reheating which serves to whet our appetite and make us appreciate how special this food is.
I am beginning to feel a bit like Miss Chettle now; ‘relais’ in this context is a herby butter sauce, and what better way to complement your steak than with a buttery sauce! Don’t worry; you have that dark red wine to cut through all the decadence. Ours had lots of tannins, sour cherries and some chocolate and licorice on the palate.
This was a generous hunk of meat and as with all the home experiences I have tried there were leftovers. A meat thermometer comes in handy here and 55 degrees centigrade is the benchmark I used. The filet was tender and bathed in foaming butter while cep seasoning added umami. Carrots were soft, fat and fruity and the king prawns rosy and meaty. The fondant was very oozy and the accompanying orange sauce had the tang of sparky Seville zest.
Great value for money and wonderful to welcome chef Nico Simeone to our home. As for the leftovers, I am thinking posh steak frites for Saturday lunch.