Pepper Steaks with Summer Puree and Roasted Baby Tomatoes

If you have time, cover the peppercorn-crusted steaks with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2-3 hours to allow the flavours to marinate.

Ingredients:

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp mixed peppercorns
  • 4 x 6-8 oz sirloin steaks, at least 1 inch thick
  • 20 cherry tomatoes on the vine, if available
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • ½ lb fresh broad beans
  • ½ French green beans, topped
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
  • ½ lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Methods:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the mixed peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and lightly crush down, then add a teaspoon of the sea salt and gently combine, ensuring you leave some texture.
  2. Spread on to a flat plate. Pat the steaks dry with kitchen roll and press the mixed peppercorn mixture on to both sides of the steaks.
  3. Snip the baby tomatoes into 4 portions of five and arrange in a small roasting tin. Drizzle over a tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 12-15 minutes until they are lightly roasted and just beginning to soften.
  4. To make the puree, bring a large pan of salted boiling water to the boil. Add the asparagus, broad beans, greens beans and fresh peas (if using frozen add about a minute before the end of the cooking time.) boil for 4 minutes then drain and cool, under cold water.
  5. Remove the skins from the broad beans. Take out the asparagus and cut off the tips. Set them aside with about a quarter of the other vegetables.
  6. Add the remaining vegetables into a food processor with the mint, chives, ricotta and two tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Blend to a rough puree and then transfer into a heavy-based pan. Fold in the Parmesan and scatter over the reserved blanched vegetables. Set aside until you are ready. Set aside until you are ready to cook the steaks
  8. To cook the steaks, heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over a high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat, add a knob of butter and cook the steak for 4-6 minutes, turning once, depending on how rare you like your meat.
  9. Transfer the steaks to a plate, set aside in a warm place to rest.
  10. Whilst the steaks are resting gently heat the puree so that it is just warmed through but loses none of its freshness.
  11. To serve, divide the puree among warmed plates, then add a steak and finish with a pile of tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.