Maybe it’s because I like a martini with my steak dinner, but salty, savoury, slightly fruity olives have always seemed like a natural flavour partner for a butter-basted piece of beef. Topping one with a tapenade is very fine and dandy, but using puréed olives as a marinade is next level.
Due to the popularity of a certain sock puppet in the '80s, lamb chops seem to be the cut of young sheep that gets the most play. Lamb steaks, however, are definitely worth your time and, when cooked sous vide, pretty much impossible to mess up.
Basically, you make an olive smoothie, then smear it all over your intended hunk of flesh. You can use green olives, black olives, Kalamata olives, oil-cured olives, or niçoise olives. Olives stuffed with things, like blue cheese, garlic, or jalapeños are not only acceptable, but encouraged. The cured fruits infuse the meat with a briny, slightly fruity flavour, without overpowering the meat — it’s somewhere in between olive oil and an actual olive. To make an olive-marinated steak yourself, you will need:
1 steak of your choice (I tried this with the cost-effective top sirloin, but I bet it would SING with a flank steak, and of course it would be great with lamb.)
1-2 cups of pitted olives, depending on how big your steak is
A sprig or two of you favourite fresh herbs (optional)
Add the olives and herbs to a blender and blend until you have a very unappealing olive slush. It will smell very good, but look very terrible. Do not let this deter you. Place your steak in a freezer bag (or some other shallow vessel), and pour the world’s worst smoothie on top of the meat. Set it in the fridge for 4-6 hours, depending on how thick your steak is. (Keep anything an inch or less closer to the four hour mark.)
Remove the steak from the fridge, wipe the olives off, and cook your steak however you would usually cook it. I cooked mine in a pan with butter, and am pleased to report it was delightful.