Zebra steak with gnocchi and salad

Z is for Zebra steak

I have finally reached Z (and therefore the end of this blog). Don’t despair however, as I will be starting a new blog about cooking food that’s in season very soon, so stay tuned.

This week I decided to go all out and cook something I’d never eaten before: zebra steaks, which I found at The Exotic Meat Company in Borough Market. They source their zebra products from a managed ranch in South Africa. It was expensive (~£10 for two steaks), but as this isn’t an everyday meal and has been shipped in, the price is justifiable for a one-off meal.

The Exotic Meat Company

The zebra steaks I bought were very lean and having done my research, zebra has a delicate flavour for red meat. Therefore I didn’t want to overpower the meat with other intense flavours too much, so I could enjoy it properly. I therefore decided to marinate the meat in a simple marinade, and serve with gnocchi and a crunchy, colourful salad.

The recipes below serve 2.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Salad

  • Half a bag of designer salad leaves (I used watercress, spinach and rocket);
  • Radicchio – finely shredded;
  • ¼ fennel bulb – finely shredded;
  • 1 stick of celery – finely cut;
  • 2 spring onions – finely sliced;
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar;
  • 2 tbsp (extra virgin) olive oil;
  • a pinch of salt
  • a squirt of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard

Salad with Safari servers

Gnocchi

  • 500g gnocchi (homemade or straight from a packet is fine);
  • 3 tbsp olive oil;
  • a pinch of salt;
  • 2 twists of pepper;
  • 1 tsp of rosemary – finely chopped;

Gnocchi - fried

Zebra steak

  • 2 x 150g zebra steaks;
  • 4 tbsp olive oil;
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice;
  • 1 tbsp yuzu juice;
  • 1 tsp salt
  • several twists of pepper

Zebra meat - defrosted

Zebra steak on the griddle

Recipe:

  1. Firstly prepare all the ingredients for the salad and toss together in a bowl. Then make the salad dressing by combining the white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon, salt and mustard. The dressing should start to emulsify thanks to the mustard (as opposed to separating). Don’t pour the dressing over the salad until you’re ready to serve.
  2. For the zebra steaks, put all the ingredients in a shallow bowl to make the marinade. Place the steaks in there and leave to stoop for about 5 minutes a side.
  3. Put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot enough (the oil will start shimmering) tip in the gnocchi. They will take a couple of minutes to cook on either side. About halfway through the cooking, add the seasoning (salt, pepper and rosemary) and remember to toss / turn over so they get an even colour.
  4. Whilst the gnocchi is on the go, put a griddle pan over a high heat and leave to hot up, then add the steaks. As always, I oil the steaks (via the marinade), not the pan to avoid the kitchen filling up with smoke. It takes 3-4 minutes to cook on each side if you like your steaks somewhere between medium and rare, although tailor the times to your preference.
  5. Once cooked, take the steaks from the griddle and wrap in tin foil for 5 minutes. This resting time allows the steak juices to settle and makes the meat more tender.
  6. In the meantime, dress the salad and serve up the gnocchi, salad and finally add the steaks to your plate and dribble over the juices.

Zebra steak with gnocchi and salad

Veal served with gnocchi

V is for… Veal with fried gnocchi

Firstly apologies for such a long gap between the previous post and this one, I was very busy in December with quite a few Christmas parties and then the festive period itself; however I had not forgotten the blog, so here is the next instalment.

I know veal can be a somewhat contentious issue, but this is not the forum to discuss ethics. I enjoy all food and believe it should all be cooked well. This is a simple recipe, which allows you to appreciate the meat itself. I’ve served mine with fried gnocchi, but if you want to be healthier, it could equally be served with boiled new potatoes.

The recipe serves 2 greedy people comfortably.

Veal in marinade

 

Veal in griddle

Preparation time: 2 – 6 hours (for the meat to marinate)

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 300g veal escalopes;
  • 500g gnocchi
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • knob of butter
  • 2 handfuls of green beans
  • 100g tender stem broccoli

Recipe:

  1. In a shallow dish (or food-proof, sealable plastic bag) place the veal and pour in 3 tbsp of olive oil, the lemon juice, rosemary and chill flakes. Give a stir around until the meat is completely covered then cover (or seal in a bag) and leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, you’ll need a griddle, a large frying pan and a small saucepan on the go at once. In the large frying pan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and a knob of butter over a medium heat. As soon as the butter is foaming, add the gnocchi, string occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile put the griddle pan over a high heat. No oil is needed in the pan as the veal is already coated in oil. Once hot, take out the veal from the marinade (the remainder of which can now be discarded) and place on the griddle. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, then wrap in tin foil to rest whilst you are finishing the other dishes. The meat will keep warm and continue to cook slowly in it’s own heat.
  4. In a saucepan add the green beans and broccoli, a good pinch of salt and an inch or two of boiling water. Cook over a high-heat for a couple of minutes with the lid on , which will allow the veg to part boil and part steam. Give a stir round to make sure everything is tender, and it should only take a couple of minutes.
  5. Once the gnocchi are golden brown all over (which should take no more than 10 minutes), you’re ready to plate up. Any juices that have oozed out from the veal can be poured back over the meat on the plate – you don’t want to waste flavour!

Veal served with gnocchi

Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta

G is for Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta

This dish is superbly simple to make, tasty and very rewarding with a glass (or several) of a dry white after a long day at the office.
 I do enjoy making my own gnocchi, which isn’t that difficult but time consuming enough to be left to the weekend, so it’s out of a packet in this recipe but there’s nothing wrong with that!
Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta
Ingredients:
This makes enough for 2
  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 206g cubed pancetta
  • 260g young spinach leaves
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A squirt of lemon juice
Recipe:
  1. In a large frying pan tip all the pancetta cubes and fry on a high heat until starting to turn golden and crisp. You won’t need to add any oil, as there is plenty of fat in the pancetta itself.
  2. Once golden, remove the pancetta and place on kitchen paper to mop up any excess fat.
  3. In the frying pan pour away about half the remaining fat and top up with a dribble of olive oil (not extra virgin, regular will is fine). Add the garlic and fry on a medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile salt a large pan of boiling water and toss in the gnocchi. It should sink to the bottom, and after about 5minutes will raise to the top of the pan – indicating it’s cooked.
  5. Turn the heat down under the frying pan as low as it will go and toss in the spinach.
  6. Stir the spinach around until its coated in the garlic-y oil and has nearly all wilted.
  7. Then add the cream, a spritz of lemon and a couple of turns of pepper and turn up the heat, letting the cream bubble away for a few minutes.
  8. By this point the gnocchi should be cooked, so turn the heat off both pans. Add the pancetta back to the frying pan, drain the gnocchi and add that too.
  9. With a wooden spoon gently fold everything together so the gnocchi is coated in the creamy sauce and serve immediately.