Some say it was invented by the Romans in 269AD, and institutionalized through St Valentine’s cousin, Claudius Fellatio. Others suggest that when World War II ended in 1945, president Harry S. Truman had the FBI covertly spread the word to act as a “welcome home” for the troops.
Andover & Villages isn’t convinced, but to help you on this ever popular day of the year, below is a perfect recipe for one part of your evening!
- 50g blanched hazelnuts
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly sliced
- 85g watercress
- 1½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra for griddling
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, plus 2 tsp
- 2 rump steaks, about 140g each
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Place the hazelnuts in a baking tray, then toast in the oven for 5-10 mins until golden (you can roast the garlic for the mash at the same time). Leave the nuts to cool a little. Put the cooled nuts, chilli, 50g of the watercress, 1½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic and some seasoning in a food processor, then blitz until finely chopped. The mixture shouldn’t be too smooth – there should still be some texture to the nuts. Set aside.
Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Rub the steaks with a little oil, then season both sides with salt. Cook the steaks on the griddle for 2 mins on each side – this will give you medium rare (cook for 3 mins for medium or 4 mins for well done, if you prefer). Remove from the griddle, then sit on a plate for 5 mins to rest. Stir any juices from the resting steak into the pesto – they’re delicious and shouldn’t be wasted.
To serve, divide the Roasted garlic mash (recipe, below) between 2 plates, top with a little watercress, then sit a steak across it. Top the steaks with a large tbsp of the pesto and drizzle the rest of the balsamic over.
Roasted Garlic Mash
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Place 3 large, unpeeled garlic cloves in a shallow tray. Roast for 20-30 mins until skin is yellowed and cracked. (This can be done at the same time as the hazelnuts for the pesto.) Meanwhile, boil 400g potatoes, peeled and cut, for 15-20 mins until tender. Drain and mash with 85g butter and 3 tbsp milk, then season well. Squeeze garlic flesh from skin and stir through the mash.