Pepper steak is a classic, especially with New York strip but Nancy Silverton’s version gives it a little reworking. “We are loading a sauce on it but it’s not a sauce you would ordinarily think of,” she says. “It’s a charred onion base with slab bacon and we finish it with chives.” The steak is deeply caramelised. “This is a wonderful accompaniment, especially when the steak has a very smoky char,” she says.
½ cup black peppercorns
4 x 2.5 cm / 1-in. thick Westholme New York strip steaks
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
60g (2 oz) applewood-smoked slab bacon cut into 1.2cm / ½ in. cubes
4 bunches large spring onions / scallions
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup olive oil (if you are cooking in a skillet or grill pan)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
To season the steaks, put the peppercorns in a mortar or spice grinder and very coarsely grind them.
Place the steaks in a large baking dish or on a cutting board. Pour the olive oil over them and with your hands massage to coat the steaks all over with the oil. Sprinkle the salt and half of the pepper evenly over the steaks. Use the meat to mop up the fallen salt and pepper and press the salt and pepper into the meat with your hands to adhere. Set the steaks aside for at least 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
To make the bacon topping, place oven rack in centre of oven and preheat to 180C / 350F. Place the bacon on a baking sheet and cook 16-20 minutes, until cooked but not crisp, rotating halfway through. Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain. Chop into ½ cm (¼ in.) pieces and place in a medium bowl.
Trim and discard the hairy root ends from the spring onions (scallions) and slice both white and green parts into ½ cm (¼ in.) thick rings.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until they are soft.
Add the cooked bacon, parsley, salt, and remaining cracked pepper. Add the oil and stir to combine, cook for 2-3 minutes, until the bacon is warmed through. Turn off the heat.
If you are grilling the steaks, prepare a hot fire in a wood burning or charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill for high heat. If you are cooking the steaks in a skillet or grill pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the oil slides easily and is smoking around the edges of the pan. If you are using a two burner griddle, heat all of the oil.
Add steaks to the grill, skillet, or grill pan. Sear for 3-4 minutes until deeply caramelised and a crust has formed on the surface. Turn the steaks and cook the second sides for 2 to 3 minutes until an instant thermometer reads 46C / 115F for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the pan and place them on a large platter.
To serve, spoon the bacon topping onto the steaks, dividing it evenly. Sprinkle with chives.