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.
- 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
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Lightly oil a baking tray and place in the oven.
- 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.
- 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.
- For the salsa, heat a little oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and sauté the
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.
- 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.
- Remove the salsa from the heat and leave to cool down.
- Check on the chips; turn them, and re-place in the oven.
- 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.
- Remove the chips from the oven, season and add to the plate. Serve alongside the salsa, and a fresh rocket salad if desired.