For years, the perfect roast potato eluded me. I have tried everything from pre-heating oil in the oven, peeling the potatoes, and par-boiling the potatoes. Nothing seemed to give me the potato I was looking for. Until I learned a sultry lesson from gorgeous, Nigella Lawson. Nigella’s tip is to par-boil the potato and toss them in semolina. And by tossing, I don’t mean gently to ensure they don’t break. Indeed, quite the opposite. Don’t be afraid to smash the potatoes up a little bit.
My suggestion is to take the potatoes beyond the par boil point to a stage that is more like cooking them right through. I have found it gives the potatoes a much fluffier texture once they are roasted. Season well with sea salt, and you can even add fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary for a different flavour.
Don’t use olive oil for the potatoes or the steaks. Both need to be cooked at high temperatures and olive oil, no matter the quality, simply can not take the heat. It will begin to smoke and turn the oil rancid lending an unpalatable flavour to your food. Use oils that can take high heat such as rice bran or peanut oil.
2 x 250g rib eye steaks
100g butter, softened to room temperature
1 clove garlic
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
4 tbspn rice bran or peanut oil
500g kipfler potatoes
2 tbspn semolina
Using a fine grater, such as a microplane, grate a clove of garlic. Add this to a small bowl with the softened butter and mix the two ingredients evenly with a fork. When they are well combined, place the butter onto a layer of cling wrap. Roll the butter into a log, tying off the ends of the cling film and place it in the fridge to cool.
Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of water. Add salt and bring them to a boil. Continue to simmer the potatoes for a further 20 minutes and then remove them from the heat and drain the water. Allow the potatoes to sit in the colander to dry off any steam or excess moisture while you pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Return the potatoes to the pot and add the semolina. Briskly toss the potatoes in the semolina ensuring they are evenly coated. Place them in a baking tray and add about 2 tblspns of the oil. Toss them once more in the oil to given them a glossy coat. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt (and add herbs of your liking) and place them in the oven. Roast them for about 30-40 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Rib Eye Steak – Medium Rare
Remove the rib eye steaks from the fridge and bring them to room temperature for around 30 minutes. This step is crucial to ensure the steak is evenly cooked without a cool uncooked centre.
Coat the steaks in the remaining oil and season with plenty of cracked pepper.
Place a heavy based griddle pan on a high heat for at least 10 minutes. Don’t add any oil to the pan. When the pan is searingly white hot, place the steaks on the pan. Season with sea salt and leave them to cook for 4 minutes on one side. Turn the steaks over, season them with a little more sea salt, and continue to cook for a further 4 minutes. Finally, turn the steaks a quarter turn and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the steaks from the pan and leave them to sit on a wooden board for 5 minutes.
Serve the steaks with the roasted potatoes, a small slice of the garlic butter and a fresh green salad on the side.