steak, chips and salsa

Steak and chips is a great British comfort food – a treat when you need it most. And as I’ve been busy all this week researching an essay, I decided that Saturday, I would treat myself with comfort food. Steak bought, potatoes bought…no peas. Admittedly I could have walked to the shop and bought a big bag of frozen peas, but I am lazy, and so instead I decided to make a salsa. Adapting a recipe for a really flavoursome tomato soup, I made a tomato and red onion dipping salsa: incredibly speedy, and using only store-cupboard ingredients, it was the perfect accompaniment to my evening meal.

I adapted the tomato soup recipe because I knew the flavours worked well together. Adding puree instead of stock gave the salsa the right consistency; as the tomatoes broke down as part of the simmering process, the puree thickened the salsa. This salsa is best when made in advance and left to cool down – the flavours intensify in the cooling process, making it suitable to be used for this dish as well as ‘party foods’, such as crisps, or vegetable batons.

Ingredients

  • Steak
  • 1 baking potato per person – peeled
  • 5 fresh tomatoes, diced OR a 400g tin of tomatoes
  • Onion, diced – red onion gives a sweetness to the salsa that complements fresh tomatoes really nicely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Tomato puree
  • Ground paprika
  • Dried chili flakes
  • Teaspoon of brown sugar, if using tinned tomatoes

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray and place in the oven.
  2. Chop the potatoes lengthways into strips of 1cm width. Laying each 1cm thick potato slice flat onto a chopping board, slice lengthways again into strips, width depending on whether you like thick or thin chips! Repeat for all potatoes using.
  3. Remove the baking tray from the oven, and add the chips to the tray. Coat in the oil and return to the oven; check on them and turn after roughly 15 minutes.
  4. For the salsa, heat a little oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and sauté the
    easy to make, this salsa's colour and flavour are incredible

    onion and garlic until just beginning to brown. Add the tomatoes, and stir. Season with the paprika and chili flakes to taste. Add a teaspoon of tomato puree and combine. If using tinned tomatoes, also add a teaspoon of brown sugar.

  5. Reduce the heat and simmer. The tomatoes, if fresh, should begin to break down. Stirring occasionally will aid this – as the tomatoes soften from simmering, stirring will break them down further, resulting in a good, thick consistency. The juice of the tinned tomatoes will similarly thicken as it simmers.
  6. Remove the salsa from the heat and leave to cool down.
  7. Check on the chips; turn them, and re-place in the oven.
  8. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. On a clean board, season the steak, rubbing the salt and pepper over its surface. When the oil is hot, place the steak in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, before turning and cooking for 5 minutes the other side. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a minute before serving.
  9. Remove the chips from the oven, season and add to the plate. Serve alongside the salsa, and a fresh rocket salad if desired.
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