Sirloin steak, gratin dauphinois and asparagus

I bought a couple of nice aged sirloin steaks yesterday for dinner tonight.

I marinated them in some nice grassy olive oil and coarsely ground black pepper before cooking them on a very hot ridged griddle. (I bought the griddle in France about 6 years ago and it is one of the most heavily used pieces of equipment I own). Once cooked, I sprinkled the steaks with fresh oregano leaves.

To accompany the steaks I cooked a gratin dauphinois, which is one of my favourite potato recipes, and steamed some asparagus that we bought down in Cheddar today on a strawberry buying mission.

My gratin dauphinois recipe is from Elizabeth David’s classic French Provincial Cooking and it doesn’t contain any cheese, which some people add, but isn’t really authentic.

The asparagus was simply steamed and served with a small drizzle of Hollandaise Ssauce.

To drink, we had a Chilean Pinot Noir from the Bio Bio Valley. It was the 2009 Corriente Del Bio from Marks and Spencers. A young wine, it has a reasonably pronounced Pinot Noir character with fresh fruit flavours and a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. It has a more Burgundian character, I think, than many New World Pinots, it is certainly lighter than some Chilean Pinot Noir wines I have drunk.

If It has a fault, it is one of lack of age, the alcohol is a bit too forward and I think the wine would benefit with maybe six months more in the bottle. One to buy and keep until Christmas perhaps.

Before the meal, we drank an English white wine as an aperitif. It was from Mumfords Vineyard and we bought the wine in Waitrose. It was an interesting wine, drier than I had expected and with a slight petillance. There was a touch of elderflower on the nose and in the mouth, with a crispness too, and with a certain aromatic opulence. On the nose, there was a hint of the “petrol” aroma of Riesling, hardly surprising when you discover that one of the grapes used in the blend is Kerner, a German variety derived from Riesling. This wine is one that I will definitely buy again.

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