Each month, F&HE offers an aspiring young chef the chance to share with us their budding culinary skills in the kitchen and prepare a favourite dish, in this case, Tiago’s Portuguese steak and egg with round-cut chips.
“I am a natural,” says Tiago Coelho, our 12-year-old Junior Chef, who is not related to the famous author Paulo Coelho, by the way. Tiago bounces into the kitchen with excitement, announcing: “Let’s get this started!” Definitely the man of the moment, Tiago exudes confidence and you can instantly see that he knows his way around the kitchen, as he flips the pan onto a hot stove, telling me that he “almost always cooks supper in the Coelho home”.
Today, Tiago is preparing a traditional Portuguese dish: a manly steak topped with a fried, sunny-side up egg and round-cut chips (served with a drizzle of a yummy garlic sauce on naughty nights). “We had this for supper last night,”
Tiago excitedly adds when asked how often he cooks this one up for the family – definitely a regular dinner and one of Tiago’s favourite meals. With both of his parents being the first generation of Portuguese descendants born in SA, Tiago has a love for the spicy, wholesome food he grows up with. “I love a good Italian meal too – or our Portuguese take on it. Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, an Italian dish we add chorizo to for a Portuguese twist, is our Sunday-night staple – a quick and easy dish and even my sister loves it!” he exclaims. The family frequent Portuguese restaurants in Johannesburg and Tiago firmly agrees with his mom that ‘O’ Vicente in Bedfordview is one of the best for traditional Portuguese homemade food, alongside Restaurante Parreirinha in La Rochelle and 1920 in Randburg. These hotspots not only cook delicious Portuguese cuisine, but provide some good entertainment too. Quite an all-rounder, Tiago is a great soccer player who one day sees himself becoming a wildlife vet. Having observed his dad own and run an Italian family restaurant when he was younger, Tiago knows exactly what’s expected if he were to pursue the life of a chef. But for now, Tiago checks in with his mom on what she feels like for dinner… will it be peri-peri chicken or a traditional bacalhau com natas (a creamy salted cod bake)?
Portuguese steak and egg with round-cut chips
- 2 large rump steaks
- Maldon Sea Salt flakes, to taste
- crushed black peppercorns, to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- handful fresh rosemary
- olive oil, to drizzle
- 8 medium potatoes, peeled
- sunflower oil, to deep-fry
- 4 jumbo eggs
For the steak, place a steak on a flat surface and sprinkle generously with salt flakes and crushed pepper. Sprinkle over the sliced garlic and the rosemary, turning to coat. Drizzle with olive oil and repeat the process with the other steak. Allow the steaks to rest to absorb the flavours.
For the chips, slice the potatoes into about 0,5cm-thick discs. Add the slices to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil, 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and dry on paper towel.
Heat the sunflower oil in a deep fat fryer to 180°C. Alternatively, use a medium pot and check the temperature with a sugar thermometer. Fry the potatoes, in batches if necessary, until golden brown. Carefully remove the chips from the oil, drain on paper towel and season with salt flakes, to taste.
For the steak, heat a pan over high heat. Add the steak to the pan while the pan is at about medium heat (it will get hotter as the steak cooks, heating up gradually). Fry each steak, about 6 minutes in total, turning occasionally. Once the steaks are cooked, allow them to rest, 5 minutes, while frying the eggs.
Wipe out the steak pan with paper towel, add a little olive oil and heat the pan over medium heat. Carefully crack 1 egg into the pan and fry until done to your liking, about 2 – 3 minutes for soft yolk.
Slice the steak and place on warmed plates. Arrange the round-cut chips alongside. Place a fried egg on top of the steak slices on each plate. Scatter salt flakes over and serve immediately.