"Josh and I came up with this dish when we first got the keys to the restaurant," says Harley & Rose's Rory Cowcher. "We had friends around to help with some painting, cooked this up and were pretty happy with it. With a few minor changes it ended up on the menu."
- 3 beef rib-eye (about 350gm each), bone in, halved through the bone (see note)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp neutral-flavoured oil, such as vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 800 gm canned whole tomatoes, strained through a sieve, liquid reserved separately
- ¼ cup (loosely packed) mint, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped dill
- 3 eggplants, sliced about 2.5cm thick and lightly salted for 20 minutes
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- 300 gm pearl couscous
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil, or to taste
- ½ preserved lemon, flesh and pith removed, peel thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1Place rib-eyes between two pieces of baking paper, and pound to 0.5cm thick, or as thin as possible, with a meat mallet. Leave to come to room temperature (20 minutes).
- 2Preheat oven to 180°C. Fry onion in oil in a saucepan over medium heat until soft and starting to caramelise (10-12 minutes). Add garlic and fry until soft (2 minutes), then add spices and stir for a further minute until fragrant and starting to catch on the pan. Add tomato and herbs and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavours are combined (10-12 minutes).
- 3Drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Pour drained tomato juice onto an oven tray, spread eggplant over it and bake until softened (20-25 minutes). Spread spiced tomato mixture over eggplant, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season to taste and bake until very soft and liquid is reduced to a thick paste (40-45 minutes). Cool, then finely chop eggplant.
- 4For couscous, add couscous to 1 litre water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook uncovered until the water is absorbed (10-12 minutes). Drain, transfer to a bowl with remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Divide among plates.
- 5Preheat a barbecue (ideally wood or coal) or char-grill pan to high. Season rib-eyes to taste then grill one side only until juices release (3-4 minutes). Immediately place directly onto couscous seared-side up. Rather than resting the meat, the idea is to let the delicious juices soak into the couscous. Spread a few spoons of eggplant on top and serve.
Ask your butcher to prepare the steaks for you; they may need to be ordered ahead.
Drink suggestion: A light red with bright fruit and a hint of funk, such as the 2017 Commune of Buttons "Field of Sparrows", from Adelaide Hills. Drink suggestion by Mark Williamson.