Colin Fassnidge injects a slice of Summer Bay into his surf and turf, and chats with Anthony Puharich about Aussie soaps, seaweed and the butcher’s penchant for budgie-smugglers.
Colin Fassnidge gives T-bone a boost with savoury seaweed butter.
A This is the Australian issue, so let’s get one very important matter off our chests before we go any further. Neighbours or Home and Away?
C Home and Away is definitely better than Neighbours. I grew up with Irene, Sally and Marilyn, which is a bit embarrassing because I’ve met all those actors now! A It’s all a bit sad, Fass. Those poor actors.
C Home and Away is the reason every Irish person has moved to Australia. It was the ad for Australia, with the beach and the sunshine – it still is.
A I always liked Neighbours, because it was the original. Kylie and Jason, Craig McLachlan – they were there first.
C Home and Away has influenced this month’s dish. I’ve reinvented the surf and turf. Picture this: I’m an Irishman coming to Australia for the first time. I get off the plane, head to the beach and what do I see?
A A whole lot of water that you probably don’t even know how to swim in! C Wrong answer. Seaweed. Umami. A What’s that got to do with anything? C A T-bone steak is the classic Aussie barbecue cut, but steak needs butter and butter needs umami, so I’ve added seaweed and lemon – flavours usually reserved for seafood – to beef.
A This sounds complicated, Fass. Remember, Aussie barbecues are all about keeping it simple.
C It’s so easy – you blend all the flavours into the butter, then you freeze the butter and just cut a slice off every time you cook the steak and need some surf on your turf. It’s like you’re sitting on Palm Beach. For the chips, I made a salt with dashi powder, which is my rendition of chicken salt.
A Do people seriously eat seaweed at home? We don’t have seaweed in Croatia. C What a stupid comment! A What’s stupid about it? My only understanding of seaweed is that they use it to make ice cream or something.
C Where did you get that? Your poor kids. Where do you take them for ice cream? The aquarium? I’ll have a Dory and two Nemos please.
A All I’ve said is we don’t eat seaweed in Croatia. In fact I didn’t think you’d introduce the concept of surf and turf through a seaweed butter. I thought you’d be generic and throw a prawn or an oyster on there, so I’m proud of you. C Really? A Yes, really. Now stop with the seaweed jokes. At the end of the day, every good piece of meat needs a good amount of seasoning, and the perfect complement to any meat is salt. You’ve introduced that seasoning and the surf and turf element in one smooth move.
C Which leads us to our second most important question: Speedos or boardies?
A In Croatia, Speedos for sure. White, orange or lime green. In Australia, boardies.
C Boardies all the way, man! Except if you’re in Dublin – you wear a duvet.
T-BONE WITH SEAWEED BUTTER SERVES 2
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed 1 tsp dashi powder (from Asian grocers)
1/ 2 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton) Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (20g) pink salt flakes 2 x 400g T-bone steaks Olive oil, to drizzle Thick-cut chips and micro parsley, to serve
10g dried seaweed (from Asian grocers),
soaked in cold water, drained, chopped 150g unsalted butter, softened Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1 tbs soy sauce 1 tbs freshly grated ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
To make dashi salt, combine fennel, dashi, paprika, lemon zest and salt in a bowl.
For butter, place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz until combined.
Heat a large frypan over high heat. Season steaks, drizzle with oil and cook for 2 minutes each side or until browned. Add one-quarter butter and cook for a further 1 minute each side for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking. Top with remaining butter and remove from pan. Rest, loosely covered with foil, for 3-4 minutes.
Serve steak with chips tossed in dashi salt and scattered with micro parsley.