When I think about Italian food my mind moves first to pasta and then pizza. I rarely ever think of steak. In Italy though tagliata is a staple; a lightly seasoned steak, grilled to perfection and served thinly sliced. This flavoursome dish centers around the quality meat. I like a nice thick scotch fillet, but it works well with the more economical flank or skirt steak. Purists use only a bit of salt, but I like a bit of pepper and rub a clove of smashed garlic over the surface. Migraine-sufferers should avoid the traditional brushing with rosemary during grilling if they want the dish to be trigger-free. If you feel the steak needs some heavy herb flavour, a bunch of marjoram will add a nice lift. Grill rare to medium, thinly slice and it’s ready for some side dishes.
The summer heat is all a bit too much here in Sydney right now, so just about everything is being cooked on the BBQ grill outside. This can create a slight problem for migraine sufferers as the cooking surface can be contaminated through historical use. All those preservative laden sausages and migraine-triggering marinades have been incorporated into the metal cooking surface. As soon as you pop something on the grill, it will take up some of this and incorporate it into your Migraine-friendly food.
Cross contamination on commingled cooking surfaces like barbeques can create a migraine on a plate. I’ve written previously about the science here if you are interested; however if you are just looking for a simple fix, pop some baking/parchment paper on the grill as a physical barrier between your food and the nasties, which doesn’t inhibit the heat transfer, and cook as normal. I also take a bit of baking paper with me to BBQs so that we can get Stuart’s food cooked up without cross contamination from historical cooking or other foods. Whatever you do, don’t use aluminum foil as the cooking of food on it imparts toxic levels of aluminum into the meal.
Besides cooking everything on the grill in this heat, it calls for simple, light sides. I have a penchant for refried beans for a quick carb hit in the heat. Here I’ve put a refried spin on some Italian cannellini beans. Cannellini beans are great for Migraineurs as a single serve has 25% of your daily magnesium and fiber intake as well as a good hit of B6 and potassium. Enjoy my friends.
Tagliata: Italian Steak and Cannellini Beans
Tagliata over Italian style refried beans is my go to 30 minute pantry to plate summer meal.
Required skills: slicing vegetables without losing a finger; cooking steak on a grill without turning it into shoe leather.
This dish is one of my favourites for getting it onto the table quickly as you get home and walk through the door. Once you know what you’re doing with this dish, you’ll get the cooking time down to 30 minutes. In the meantime give yourself a whooping 45 minutes to get from pantry to plate.
- 300-400 gm Scotch fillet, flank or skirt steak
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 can of cannellini beans
- 1 bunch of broccolini, stems removed and diced to about the size of a cannellini bean
- ½ of a red capisicum diced to about the size of a cannellini bean
- 8-10 mini roma or truss cherry tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Large fry pan
- Fire up the grill so that it can get nice and hot.
- Season your steak with salt and pepper. Smash 2 cloves of garlic and rub one on each side. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and rub in. Let sit with the garlic until ready to grill.
- Finely dice the remaining clove of garlic. Dice the red capsicum and broccolini stems.
- Drain the cannellini beans reserving the liquid.
- Place the broccolini florets and a pinch of salt in a heat proof container and cover with boiling water.
- Grill your steak and the tomatoes to your liking. Let the steak rest for 10 minutes.
- When taking the tomatoes off the grill, put them in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a tea towel and let them steam and rest for 10 minutes.
- While the steak is resting make the beans.
- In the fry pan bring a good splash of EVOO to temperature over medium heat. Bring up the heat and saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add the red capsicum and broccolini stems. Keep the vegetables moving and add some EVOO if it’s looking dry. Once the vegetables are starting to soften add the cannellini beans. Since they are all ready cooked we are looking to simply heat them up. Keep everything moving and if it’s starting to dry out add some of the reserved bean liquid. Use the back of your spoon to crush some of the beans a bit. Take off the heat.
- Drain the broccolini and toss with the grilled tomatoes.
- Slice your steak on an angle and splay it over the beans. Pour any drippings across the meat and serve.
So my friends, what is your go to easy, yet glamorous, hot weather meal?