Peperonata is a classic dish of capsicum stewed with tomatoes, onions and herbs, and one of the great Italian vegetable preparations. It pretty much goes with any meat or fish dish. Of course, any cut of beef that grills well will work here, and the peperonata also goes well with roast chicken.
4 x 280g grass-fed sirloin steaks
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1-2 lemons, quartered
2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, cut in 1cm slices
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp salted baby capers, rinsed well
2 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
1 red capsicum, cut in 1cm strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut in 1cm strips
200g canned cherry tomatoes
⅓ cup pitted Ligurian olives
1½ tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
1. To make the peperonata, heat oil in large, heavy-based pan over a low flame. Add onion, garlic and oregano, and sauté for 10 minutes until onion is soft, stirring often.
2. Add capers and anchovy, and stir over heat for another 2 minutes. Add capsicum and cherry tomatoes, and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until capsicum is soft and tender. Add olives, red wine vinegar and brown sugar to finish.
3. To cook the steaks, remove meat from the fridge at least an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature. Season the beef with sea salt and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
4. Preheat the barbecue to hot, making sure the grill bars are clean.
5. Place the steaks on the barbecue at a 45-degree angle to the grill bars. Cook for 2 minutes, then move steaks 45 degrees in the opposite direction and cook for another 2 minutes to achieve nice grill marks. Turn the steaks over and cook for 3-4 minutes on the other side.
6. Remove the steaks from the grill and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes – the meat should be medium rare.
7. Place several large spoonfuls of peperonata on each of four plates. Place each steak on a chopping board, slice into half-centimetre slices and place over the peperonata. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, give a good grind of pepper and serve with a lemon wedge on the side.
Tip: Peperonata makes a great player in an antipasto with prosciutto, torn buffalo mozzarella drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and tinned anchovies. Just add good bread and butter and you have a great opening act for a dinner party.