Crafty old Kyle Street had decided that, for a 10-minute cooking challenge, he would use a sauce he had made over three days. That was cheating, but if I've learned anything over the course of this series, it's that getting strict on this sort of thing just leads to a lot of fish on toast.
Street, who recently left Al Brown's Depot to start his own restaurant, Culprit, had, in the sauce, combined turbot and crayfish bones for fishiness, fennel and tarragon for herbiness, and corn cobs for umami and gloss, and he'd brewed the whole thing for a deliciously enriching length of time.
With the sauce, he would be serving a flat iron steak, which is a cut from behind the shoulder blade - an underused cut, according to Street - which is one of the most flavourful cuts around. He was cooking it, along with some asparagus and beans, on what he called "a sportsman's grill", which he may or may not have been using legally.
He described the dish as "retro, surf and turf" and "like a barbecue - just done with the best ingredients I can find".
This kind of reconstruction of low food as high food is quite a Streetish thing to do. He's got another dish on the menu at Culprit that was inspired by his prolific snacking on chips and dip, and which is made with steak tartare, sour cream panna cotta and waffle chips.
I appreciate that kind of cleverness in my head, but I don't care about it in my mouth.
The flat-iron steak, asparagus and beans were cooked over charcoal and manuka, and had random blackenings on them. When he plated them off the potentially legal sportsman's grill, the whole dish looked rugged and tasted like the proceedings of some depraved annual bacchanal.
"Flavour's become an important thing," Street said. "It seems obvious, when you go, 'Oh yeah, restaurants, chefs, flavour should be paramount', but it's not."
With that comment, he was getting at something elemental about cooking in today's Michelin-driven, Ferran Adrià-inspired, Chef's Table-imbued dining scene. In recent years, cooking has become art and eating has become thinking, but there's something nice about forgetting that and just enjoying something on a more basic level.
I suppose the retro surf-and-turf-style dish he served me offered a flash of nostalgia, maybe an insight into how discredited food can be rehabilitated and what that kind of thing can tell us about life. I suppose I could have thought about it that way, but I was enjoying it so much, I couldn't really be bothered.
Kyle Street's scores (out of 5):
Legality of methods: 1.5
Charcoal grilled flat iron steak with summer veges and crayfish sauce
Flat Iron Steak
Sweetcorn, Broadbeans, Asparagus, Pea plant shoots
Sweet Smoked Paprika
Salt & Pepper
Tips for steak
Always preheat your barbecue.
Bring the steak out to room temperature 20 mins before cooking.
Season heavily as most of the seasoning will fall off as you cook it on your barbecue.
When you turn it, turn it on to a new part of your grill to get an even sear.
Once cooked to your liking, rest it for 5 minutes.
Tips for veges
I blanch my sweetcorn in boiling water, heavily seasoned with cheap table salt - almost as salty as the ocean.
Once cooked, I let the corn cool on a tray.
Asparagus and beans are great cooked from raw without blanching. Colour them on a barbecue and pile them up so they steam and soften.
I tossed my cooked veges in a sauté pan with a little sweet smoked paprika and reseason with salt & pepper.
Tips for the crayfish sauce
Turbot or Brill bones make one of the best fish stocks, in my opinion, but whatever bones you use ensure you rinse them under running water and stir often to remove as much blood from the bones.
I make a rich crayfish sauce with the fish stock as a base, I also add corn cobs while cooking which gives the sauce sweetness and also a velvetiness from the starch.
I blend the sauce with the crayfish bones and allow to sit for about an hour to let the flavour come out of the crayfish bones before passing it through a very fine sieve. (Don't forget to remove the corn cobs as they won't blend at all, I've tried!)
To finish, I slightly reduce the strained sauce and add crème fraiche, fresh tarragon and a healthy squeeze of lemon.