“Johnny first ate this dish when he was filming in Cape Town at a steakhouse called The Nelson’s Eye. Although it’s not something you’d eat every day, this steak really has the wow factor, and it’s a dish to rustle up when you want to pull out all the stops for a super-special occasion.
There are no two ways about it – this is a cheffy dish. But, once you’ve mastered it, it’s an utter, utter joy to eat. Flambéing adds an amazing depth of flavour to a dish, but it can be a bit nerve-wracking if you haven’t done it before. Light the flame with a long match or lighter and, if you need to put out the flame, swiftly place a large metal lid over the pan. ”
Pick the rosemary and thyme into a pestle and mortar, add a good pinch of black pepper, pour in the red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then bash to a paste.
Rub the paste all over the steaks and leave to marinate for 30 minutes.
For the shoestring fries, peel the potatoes and very finely slice into matchsticks using a mandolin (use the guard!), then soak in a bowl of water for 30 minutes to remove the starch.
When you’re ready to cook the fries, half-fill a sturdy pan with vegetable oil and heat to 180ºC (or use a deep-fryer).
Drain the potatoes and pat dry with kitchen paper, then carefully add to the oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden and cooked through – you may need to work in batches. Remove to kitchen paper to drain, then season with sea salt.
Deseed and finely dice the peppers, then dress with extra virgin olive oil and put aside. Quarter the mushrooms, then pick and finely chop the parsley.
Place a frying pan on a high heat so it’s screaming hot. Brush the herbs off the steaks, then place the steaks in the pan, adding a drizzle of olive oil and knob of butter.
Cook for 6 minutes in total (completing everything up to the end of step 11 in this time), turning regularly and keeping them moving in the pan, making sure to sear the edges and baste with the juices, as you go.
When the butter turns dark golden, and your steak has good colour and character, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper – jiggle the pan to keep things moving.
Pour in the splash of brandy, tilt the pan to flambé, then when the flames subside, add a swig of red wine and reduce by half.
Drizzle in the cream, turning the steaks in the sauce to coat, and keep cooking until the steaks are nicely coated (briefly remove the steaks from the pan at this stage if your sauce is taking a while to reduce to avoid overcooking).
Sprinkle over the parsley, add the mustards, then stir through.
Slice the steaks in half, place on a warmed plate and drizzle with the sauce, then divide up the fries and scatter over the dressed pepper.