Our Recipe Road Tester is a food lover who estimates she’s cooked over 10,000 meals in her lifetime and continues to cook for a family of four. We will not be revealing her identity.
The recipe: Guillaume Brahimi’s wagyu flank with chimichurri
My butcher could flirt for Australia, he makes Kel Knight look like an introvert. But one thing he doesn’t have is wagyu flank, though he tells me perkily he does have wagyu sirloin. At $79 a kilo. So I pop into the bank to take a second mortgage on my house, and buy one kilo (the recipe calls for three).
Judging by the houses on show in French-Australian chef Guillaume Brahimi’s new cookbook, Food For Family, none of his friends would struggle with the readies to pay for their beef. They can afford to make terrine out of lobster, for heaven’s sake.
Brahimi’s friends and family feature heavily in this cookbook about entertaining a gang. I don’t want to sound rude, but Brahimi’s friends are probably better looking than yours. And they have better taste, and nicer houses. Otherwise, what fun would it be perving at their manicured gardens, multi-million dollar views and hopelessly chic houses? Even his friends’ friends look like they color-code their cashmere sweaters in walk-in robes beside their $375 jeans.
There are three types of people in this book: rich people, thin people and blonde people. Some of them all in one. Flipping through it makes you feel a little bit like Nick Carraway gazing into Gatsby’s garden. We’ve had food porn, decor porn, now this is lifestyle porn. Remember Robin “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Leach, the 80s TV host who signed off “champagne wishes and caviar dreams”? This is his kind of cookbook.
As for Brahimi, you’d hate the guy if he didn’t have the knockabout French thing happening, kids he clearly adores, and a beautiful book the proceeds of which will go to support the breast cancer foundation. Brahimi is clearly a classy guy, even if he does make his mashed potato with 250g butter to four spuds.
This recipe comes out of a lunch at the home of lanky polo-playing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. Guillaume observes that McLachlan is very tall…from the photos in this book I observe that the only thing apparently taller than McLachlan is the giant hedge around his backyard. Almost as big is his man-fire, an Argentine wood-burning parilla. My wagyu will have to do with the gas bottle fired barbie from Barbecues Galore.
I phoned five butchers and none had wagyu flank in stock or knew how much it might be. A Japanese wagyu specialist suggested I’d do better with topside for $45 to $49 per kilo. My local butcher had wagyu sirloin at $79 per kilo. Guillaume suggests sirloin or rib eye as a substitute…the non-wagyu version of either might be cheaper. I’d try a hunk of Scotch fillet too.
The chimichurri sauce ingredients were easier to find, but you’ll likely have to substitute fresh jalapeno with a dessert spoon of the pickled ones in a jar from the taco-kit bit of the supermarket. Smoked paprika can be tricky to find, but is worth chasing. Use it in southern-style barbecue rubs for a hunk of slow cooked brisket.
Easy. Especially when you cheat like I did and chop everything (coarsely) in a food processor.
Somewhere between Marilyn Monroe and Charles Bronson.
A whopping hunk of wagyu doesn’t come cheap ($150 to $240). And you’ll probably have to order it in advance from most butchers. Also, it’s tricky to tell when the meat is cooked just right. Brahimi’s instructions for cooking the meat deliver it quite rare.
You may like to lean on a meat thermometer if you want it cooked just right for you.
$150-plus for a piece of meat, when you can find it. That would be it.
As the recipe requires, around $175. No, that is not a typo.
Next to naught.
Argentina’s Chimichurri is one of the world’s great sauces…a piquant blend of parsley, coriander and jalapeno chilli, Australians are yet to really discover it. Make a batch for the beef, then slather it on roast chicken, fish, sandwiches, put it behind your ears, even.
It won’t look as pretty the next day as the air turns the herbs a little olive green, but it will taste even better. This is an easy entertaining dish with a bit of wow factor.
A bloke’s birthday bash at the beach.
Would I make it again
Yes, but with a cheaper cut like Scotch fillet. I was skeptical about adding garlic and onion powders into this simply beautiful and natural sauce (which is lovely without them) but they worked. This sauce will become a staple.
Buy the book?
Entertainers will love the recipes which serve eight. Definitely one for dinner party animals.
The Book: Guillaume: Food for Family, by Guillaume Brahimi, Lantern Books, $79.99 (out Sept 23). Buy it here.