Green wet garlic, red meat and blue cheese…

Sirloin with shallot and wet garlic, finished with Blacksticks Blue

As part of Miss South’s trip north at the end of March I wanted to ensure we could enjoy what is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for our family gatherings: excellent beef steak. As usual the wonderful Stansfield’s of Tod market was able to supply the required cuts, in this case two glorious Yorkshire sirloins. Once I’d bought these I picked up a brace of oh-so-fresh wet garlic bulbs from Alex Med – the first of the year – and decided that this, alongside a few rogue shallots which were crying out to be used, could provide the basis of a very pleasant main course. With a starter of Woodcock and a dessert of Buckfast sorbet this was shaping up to a helluva meal…

Later that day we dropped into another local gem, Deli Belge in Sowerby Bridge, where I due to pick up a case of pre-ordered Westmalle Tripel beers. They always stock a fantastic range of Belgian beers, alongside a formidable selection of delightful deli goodies, from olive and pork pies to stunning cakes and cheeses. I’d recently had a conversation with somebody about how I’d never sampled the acclaimed Blacksticks Blue cheese as I tend to buy cheese from a cheesemonger off the block, so I was pleased to find a large wheel of it on the counter. I concede I’ve been missing out by normally going straight for the Cashel Blue

This meal was a first for us in so many ways, not least because neither of us had eaten wet garlic before. Its delicate interior, bereft of the usual papery finish around each clove, and the bright green finish, was the first revelation: the aroma and flavour a close second. Having this much fresh garlic guided the theme for this course, so we settled on an old family favourite for the side. Italian-style pan-fried potatoes, with generous amounts of garlic, rosemary and sea salt is one of those standbys that I can’t go without for long, and after a harsh winter I thought it was time to raid the rosemary bush to add some charisma to the spuds and play off the subtle garlicky goodness.

I crisped up the shallots slowly in a pan, adding healthy amounts of the wet garlic later to ensure it didn’t burn, merely warm through, before serving on the perfectly rare meat. This shallot and wet garlic contrasted perfectly with thinly-sliced stripes of the cheese, and the two added the required harmonic punch with such well-aged and flavoursome steak. Add the potatoes on the side and you have the best steak and chips I’ve had in a long time. Don’t you love it when a visit to the market throws up ingredients which conspire to make such a wonderful dish?

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