There are many ways to cook, many ways to prepare a dish, construct your flavours, and present your food. For myself, I like those dishes that feel elemental; plates of food that feel honest – no tricks – where you can see what you’re eating and guess how they’re made. They are simple, sometimes dubbed ‘rustic’ but most often just delicious in a basic way.

Steak is an example of this: a cut of beef, grilled or seared to eat. Salads for the most part follow this rule too, and the classic Italian Caprese is as basic as you can get (with only three ingredients).

Some tips: to get a great peppercorn taste to the steak, buy whole black peppers and place then in a pan. Crush the peppercorns with another pan, albeit smaller to fit, or a small pot. The metal provides a hard surface to crush and to crush against.

  • 2 balls of bocconcini
  • a bunch of basil
  • tomatoes, mixed sizes and colour
  • cut of steak, 1″ thick
  • 1/2 cup whole peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dollop of balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 275F. Into a large mixing bowl, cut the tomatoes into bite-sized wedges or in halves if they’re smaller. Toss with garlic, sugar, balsamic vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Place them onto a baking sheet, cut side up, and throw them in the oven for about 2 hrs. You will see them shrivel up and caramelize into sweet goodness. Remove and cover them. Turn up the oven to 500F and set an element to high.

Always leave your steak out to attain room temperature – this ensures even cooking.While this is happening place your OVEN-SAFE pan into the oven to get super hot too. Brush oil olive onto steak, season with salt and place steak into the pan with crushed peppercorns. Flip. The steak should look covered in peppercorns. Take the pan out of the oven with a towel for the handle and set it on the element; place your steaks down firmly. It should begin to sear right away. Resist, as much as you can, lifting the edges of the steak to see if its ready to flip. It will be 4 minutes. Flip. After another 4 minutes, using the towel, throw everything back in the oven.

Depending on the size of your steak, how well you like it, etc., the steak should be done in around 5 minutes. Take the steak out, place it on a plate and cover for 5 minutes. This is essential time where the juices will distribute throughout and the meat will finish cooking. While covering the meat, cut the cheese into 1/2″ slices and toss with the basil leaves and tomatoes.

Plate the steak and pour the standing juices on top. Place the salad. Turn everything off and enjoy.