I’ve just come back from a week at home in the US, and it was great. For once, I didn’t plan every minute of the trip, and it was a revelation. We even got to drive to DC for an overnight!
Going home is always a mix of experiences – eating home comfort foods, seeing old, great friends, and trying not to get too caught up in nostalgia to the point where I refuse to try anything unfamiliar.
It’s easy to feel like you’re still a part of somewhere when you live far away from it, but turning up and realizing that everything you’re used to has changed can be a downer. Instead of focusing on the romance of the old, I’m trying to focus on the joys of the new.
On that note, here is one old favorite, and two new, from my time back on the US east coast.
After a week of eating things like that amazing not-a-pop-tart, though, you can probably imagine where this is going.
Today’s recipe is pretty light, really easy to make and … delicious. (What did you expect me to say?) Versatile maybe? It’s that too, don’t worry.
Recipe note: You can replace the steak with chicken, pork, halloumi or sea bass, but I think steak works especially well.
On the Counter
1 roasted red pepper, sliced*
250 g (1/2 lb) sirloin steak(s) or boneless skinless chicken
1 tbsp neutral, high smoke point oil like rapeseed or corn oil
4 small tomatoes
1 cucumber, about 100 g (4 oz)
2 big handfuls of mixed salad leaves
4 whole grain pitas
2 tbsp extra Virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
Remaining pepper juice
What to Do
Chop your tomato into cubes, peel, seed and slice the cucumber and combine it with the salad leaves and roasted pepper slices. Cube the feta (if it isn’t already), and set it aside.
In a cast iron grill pan (or just a plain cast iron pan), heat your neutral, high smoke point oil on high until it’s shimmering and smoking hot.
Dry your steak or chicken with paper towel, then it salt on both sides. Put it into the pan, and let it sit for a short time.
If it’s a steak, flip it over soon after, and you can flip it a few more times. There is no need to let it sit for long periods of time. A steak that’s 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) thick will take about 10 minutes to cook to medium, with an internal temperature of 60 C (140 F) in mind.
Chicken will take about 15 minutes to cook, and it has to be at least an internal temperature of 75 C (165 F).
As soon as the meat is done, turn off the heat. Slice your pita so you can stuff them, and put them onto the still-hot pan to toast and warm up. (Don’t forget to flip them!)
Combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk them together until emulsified (thick and cloudy looking). Toss it with the salad.
Slice up the steak or chicken, and stuff your pita!
* How to roast a pepper
Place your pepper on a metal baking tray. In the broiler (US), or on the grill setting (UK), roast the pepper until it’s black and blistered. It usually takes at least 5 minutes per side, but could take longer.
Once you’ve roasted the pepper, transfer it to a bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. This will help loosen the skin by steaming it off, making it much easier to peel. Leave it for at least 5 minutes, until it’s cool enough to touch and peel.
Peel it, slice it and get rid of the seeds and stem.