The down under cookbook, 162pp.
by Graeme Newman
Harrow and Heston, New York, 1987
Cooking on page 32
In his introduction, Graeme Newman, author of this cookbook, asks ‘what is an authentic Australia dish?’ and answers that it is any dish that Australians have taken to calling their own. That was 25 years go, and Australia was already a true melting pot.
For example, Melbourne is considered the third largest Greek-speaking city in the world. We have a mainstream and popular foreign language television that broadcasts programs in about 100 languages. The variety of restaurant cuisines and ingredients you can buy in almost any supermarket is remarkable. And if you go to speciality markets, the array is even more impressive.
So it’s not surprising that this cookbook is loaded with recipes that originated in other lands. Today’s page-32 recipe is a good example, and Graeme says he included it because it was one of the first ‘spiced or fancy’ dishes that older Australians would eat. Spiced or fancy?! But friends confirm that Steak Dianne was indeed considered an exotic dish way back when.
Just so you know, the cover of the cookbook shows Kata Tjuta (called The Olgas when this book was published). Kata Tjuta is in Australia’s Northern Territory and not far from Uluru (Ayers Rock).
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 ounces butter
Using meat mallet, pound steak until about 1/4-inch thick. Rub in salt and pepper. Ring butter to a sizzle, toss in meat and cook in hot pan 1 minute or les on each side. Turn back to first side, sprinkle with half the garlic and parsley and cook for 1 minute or less, the do the same on the other side. Add Worcestershire sauce and cook 1 minute more. Lift steak onto serving dish, cover with sauce from pan. Australians like this dish served with a crisp salad (on the same plate!).
How it played out
I couldn’t bring myself to pound a piece of eye fillet steak. It’s one of the most expensive cuts you can buy in Australia—about $40 a kilo—and beautifully tender without being beaten. Otherwise I followed the recipe and found the cooking times to be spot-on.
The best steak I’ve had in ages. Poor John loved it too. And I served it with a green salad (and a page-32 potato salad) on the same plate.