Kitty Fisher’s restaurant in Mayfair serves what the food writer Tom Parker Bowles describes as ‘an aged mooer’ – aka Galician steak.
Galicia, in case you’re not familiar, is the most north-western region of Spain, sitting above Portugal – and its beef is legendary because unlike most beef cattle, which are slaughtered at around 18 months old, Galician cows are milkers that once they’ve served their lactating purpose are then killed for their flesh when they’re around 15 YEARS OLD.
This makes for very robust, very flavourful, strong tasting flesh – think mutton vs spring lamb.
In his review of Kitty Fisher’s Galician rib-eye. Tom describes it thus: “A great slab…hewn from an aged Spanish dairy mooer.
“Rather than the usual young steer about town. We should eat more old cows. Age breeds experience and flavour and heart and heft.
“This beef, cooked rare, has magnificent depth and chew and juice, and a fine tang of iron. In the world of steak, there’s either good or bad.
“And this was most definitely, most triumphantly one of the former.”
It sounds incredible but at £80 for one steak, aside from the impossibility of getting a table at Kitty Fisher’s, this sounded like one steak I’d never get to try.
And then the Islington butcher Turner & George popped up in a Google search.
T&G offers two bone-in Galician sirloins for £28.80 – a bargain, compared to KF’s.
On its website, it says: “These bone-in Sirloins are cut from Spanish cows that have been put out to roam in the Galician hills until 15+ years old, resulting in an amazing deep flavour quite unlike anything else found in the UK. Dry-aged by us to 30-40 days.”
Basket clicked; job done.
Now, I’m not a fan of bone-in cuts of steak. You get charged for the weight of the bone and the bone tends to connect with the pan more than the meat you’re trying to sear thus depriving you of the all important Maillard reaction, when the sugars and amino acids react to give you the flavourful crust.
So when the steaks arrived – deep ruby red in colour, with a hint of marbling – I trimmed off the bone, along with the hard external fat. OK, this may not be an aficionado’s way, but it’s the way things get done in the Recipe Shed.
Then I put a cast iron Le Creuset pan onto a high heat for half an hour, oiled the steaks with sunflower oil, and seared on either side for exactly two minutes per side, before liberally salting.
For added umami, I made a sauce made from Gorgonzola, dried reconstituted Porcini mushrooms, a tablespoon of Ribman Holy Fuck sauce, and double cream.
Then it was all served with triple cooked chips and a handful of peppery rocket.
And the verdict?
Sublime. One of the best steaks I’ve ever tasted. Incredibly juicy, without being fatty; tender but toothsome; rich and deep and beefy as a rump steak. A triumph by every measure.