Tagliata for Sarah (aka Drag Queen steak)

Sarah is my partner Jarod’s best friend. Sarah got married in Modica, Sicily and threw a three-day bash where she spoilt each and everyone of us with food, booze and trips to the beach.

Show time at Sarah's wedding breakfast in Modica
Show time at Sarah’s wedding breakfast in Modica

We spoilt her with a drag show full glitter, glamour and polyester wigs. You’ve not known fear until you’re confronted with three hairy gays in gold lame looking at you for their cue with love in their hearts and murder in their eyes lest you cock up.

This medium rare steak dish is the first thing Jarod and I ate when we arrived for the wedding and like all things Italian, it’s based on a few, very basic ingredients. It’s a crowd pleaser and because of how it’s served, it goes a long way.

This is for 8 people and is great with roasted diced potatoes.

Music to list to while preparing this dish: ‘Single ladies (Put a ring on it)’ by Beyonce

Ingredients

  • 4 Sirloin steaks (about 300g and 5cm thick each). These need to be Sirloin and they really have to be at room temperature.
  • 125ml olive oil
  • Handful of herbs of your choice, chopped. I like mixing it up but usually go with rosemary and thyme, sometimes with chilli, often with a lot of black pepper. You can use oregano, marjoram, or dill for the brave. Some like garlic, I don’t. It really is your choice, but whatever you use, make sure it’s fresh if possible.
  • A tablespoon of capers drained
  • Salt & pepper
  • Juice of a medium lemon
  • A large bag of lambs lettuce or two small ones – avoid rocket, it’s a powerful leaf that can overpower the steak and the aromatics.

Method

  1. Heat a good plug of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and wait till it is smoking hot. Now fry your seasoned steaks. The best way to serve tagliata is medium rare so fry for a maximum of 3 mins (so 90 secs each side). Get a good colour, some charring won’t hurt.
  2. Once cooked, leave to rest. Make sure you cover the steaks to keep them warm.
  3. Lower your hob to a very gentle heat. Now in the pan add your oil, your aromatics/herbs, salt and pepper and let stew for 3-4 minutes. After this add the lemon juice, mix and remove from the heat.
  4. Slice your steaks (‘tagliata’ means slice) thinly – about 1cm to 1.5cm thick
  5. On a large serving platter or dish, scatter the lambs lettuce and arrange your steak strips over the top.
  6. Pour over the oil/herb ‘dressing’ and scatter the capers over the top.

There’s only one thing to serve with steak – a classic martini. Gin is my choice, vodka will do.

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