Skirt steak with hazelnut picada and wilted escarole

Skirt steak with hazelnut picada and wilted escarole

By
From
My Favourite Ingredients
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Picada hails from Spain, or more specifically, from Catalonia. Flavoured with nuts, breadcrumbs and herbs, it is a punchy, vibrant paste – often used as a sauce to enliven dishes, and to thicken stews. Here it partners full-favoured skirt steak and elegant escarole lettuce, which is just wilted to serve as a vegetable. Like romesco, there are plenty of other uses for picada, if you have any leftover.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
700g skirt steak, cut into 4 portions
1 head escarole
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a little extra virgin olive oil
50g unsalted butter

Picada

Quantity Ingredient
1 thick slice chewy peasant-style bread
180ml extra virgin olive oil
20 shelled hazelnuts
1 orange, grated or finely shredded zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 garlic clove, peeled
small bunch oregano, leaves only

Method

  1. Set the steaks aside on a covered plate to bring them to room temperature.
  2. For the picada, preheat the oven to 180°C. Tear the bread roughly into pieces. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan over a medium heat. When it is hot, add the bread and fry until evenly golden and crisp. (Take care that the olive oil does not become too hot and begin to smoke.) Remove and drain off excess oil. Pound the bread, in batches if necessary, using a pestle and mortar, until you have coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Place the nuts on a baking tray and roast in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes until evenly golden. Tip the hot nuts into a clean dry cloth and rub to remove the skins. Finely chop the nuts and place in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, orange zest and juice. Finely chop the garlic and oregano together and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, then set aside. Turn the oven to its lowest setting.
  4. Discard the outer leaves from the escarole, then tear the lettuce into large pieces. Wash well, but don’t bother to pat dry.
  5. Season the steaks liberally all over. Place a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and brush the steaks with a little olive oil. Lay the steaks in the pan when it is hot and cook without moving for 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 3 minutes (you may need a minute or two longer if the steaks have been cut from a thicker section of the thigh). You should have a nice brown crust, while the meat inside should be rare. Remove to a plate and rest in the warm oven for 6–8 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the escarole. Place a wide pan over a medium-low heat. Add the butter and let it just melt, then add the torn leaves and seasoning. Put the lid on until the water clinging to the leaves begins to steam, then uncover and stir every few seconds so the leaves wilt uniformly. This will take 2–3 minutes. Now you should have a lovely glossy, pale green vegetable. Check the seasoning.
  7. Place a steak on each warm serving plate and arrange the escarole alongside. Spoon over the picada and serve at once.
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