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What are your pronouns?

Last week I changed my pronouns at work from he/him to what/now.

Not had much of a reaction which is nice, plus it’s freed up my time to bring you this week’s recipe for bavette, chargrilled swede and bagna càuda.

Bagna càuda is a delish garlic and anchovy sauce while swede is a real unsung hero of the veggie world. Bring them together with a slice of steak and you’ve got something seriously special.

This week’s album: 
You've Come a Long Way, Baby by Fatboy Slim

This gets a shout-out after I just watched a new documentary on Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) putting on a free event on Brighton beach 20 years ago. Part Fyre Festival, part mind-blowing experience, it’s a great doc and this is an even better album that screams 90s.

Intense, cheap, underrated

Three words to describe the three components to this week’s dish…

1. Intense
Bagna càuda (this week’s sauce) has previously featured on EMW with beef. That time we used all the traditional ingredients but prepared them slightly differently to create an emulsion/mayonnaise consistency. This week we’re sticking to the traditional recipe which originates from Piemonte. 

Primarily used as a dip for cooked and raw vegetables, bagna càuda is an intense sauce made from anchovies and garlic. It’s a firm favourite of mine which I think works really well with meat. Which leads us onto…

2. Cheap
Bavette is a type of steak that we previously used for tagliata di manzo. Its nickname is the ‘butcher’s cut’ as butchers, recognising its deliciousness and versatility yet lack of popularity, used to keep it for themselves rather than selling it.

Thankfully, bavette is easy to find now and sold in most supermarkets. Unlike most cheap cuts of steak - which usually require long and slow cooking times - bavette is best cooked rare/medium-rare. This makes it a great value cut as you get flavour and texture without a hefty price tag.

The afore-mentioned tagliata di manzo.

3. Underrated
Swede is the final element of our dish and, IMHO, a very underrated vegetable (which, FYI, is packed with Vitamin C). It’s often used in soups and stews where it fails to shine. Not here. Here we’ll simply season them with salt and olive oil before grilling.

I first came across grilled turnips in a London restaurant - an experience that instantly changed my mind about this humble veg. Grilling turnips, or swede (a Swedish turnip), works really well and creates a deeply satisfying bittersweet charred flavour that goes perfectly with the steak and bagna càuda.

What you need

The below serves 2. It takes 10 mins to prep and 30 mins to cook.

2 bavette steaks
1 small swede
3 tbsps olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
Sea salt & black pepper

For the bagna cauda: 
5 garlic cloves
(peeled & green germ removed)
200ml milk
5 anchovy fillets
(best quality)
25g softened butter
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
¼ lemon
(juice only)

Ready, steady, cook

1. Pat the bavette dry with some kitchen paper. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season well with sea salt, then set aside. Peel the swede and slice into discs about 1cm thick. Like with the bavette, drizzle with a little olive oil, season well with sea salt, then set aside.

2. Place a heavy-based chargrill pan onto a medium-high heat. Leave to heat up.

3. For the bagna cauda, add the garlic to a small pan and cover with half the milk and 100ml of water. Place on a low heat and simmer for 10 mins. Drain the liquid (so you only have the garlic in the pan), then add the remaining milk. Simmer for another 10 mins and drain the liquid again.

Into another small pan, add the anchovies and extra-virgin olive oil. Heat over a medium-low heat until the anchovies completely break down. Stir occasionally. Once broken down, add in the cooked garlic and mash with a fork or spatula until combined with the anchovies. Now remove things from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice until fully combined. Set aside and keep warm next to the chargrill.

4. Now for the steak. Pat dry again, then carefully lay down each steak onto the hot chargrill. Leave to cook for a minute before flipping over and cooking for another minute. If your steaks are thin then this will be enough cooking time, if they're from the fatter end of the bavette then flip again - changing the direction of the meat if you’re fussed about the char lines - and cook for another minute before flipping again and cooking for a final minute.

When done, remove the steak and leave to rest on a cooling rack set over a tray. Keep the chargrill on the heat because…

5. Add the discs of swede to the chargrill and cook for a minute or two on each side until soft and tender. Remove from the grill and cut into wedges.

6. Now the steaks have rested, rub them really well with the sprig of rosemary. Slice and season with some freshly ground black pepper. Divide the bang càuda between warmed plates, lay the swede wedges in the centre and, finally, top with the bavette.

Final thought

Fancy something different? Try this recipe with lamb leg steaks instead of bavette for another cracking flavour combo.

Speak next week or see you tomorrow.



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Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

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