Dining alone can is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to an indulgent meal. Depending on your whims it could be as simple as breakfast (or even ice cream cake) for dinner or something a little bit more extravagant, like this Pan-Fried Sirloin with Smashed Potatoes and Anchovy Sauce from Joe Yonan's Serve Yourself.
Yonan has a solid understanding of the fact that most solo eaters aren't about to spend an hour or more making dinner for themselves, and has tailored his recipes accordingly. This steak and potatoes dinner clocks in at under half an hour including resting time for the sirloin. New potatoes boil while the steak is searing and are then smashed and browned in the steak's pan juices. Once the potatoes have crisped they are removed from the skillet and a quick pan sauce of lemon, parsley, and anchovies is warmed and poured over the plate.
Not exactly a one dish meal, but pretty close, this is a dinner for one that turns eating alone into a special occasion. With a plate of juicy steak and crusty potatoes drizzled with a bright anchovy sauce—accompanied by a glass of wine (or two)—you might even want to consider dining at the table instead of in front of the TV for this one.
- 2 or 3 small new potatoes (about 3 ounces total), scrubbed
- 1 (4-ounce) boneless sirloin steak, preferably no more than 1/2 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 plump clove garlic
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Bring a 2-quart saucepan of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until very tender when poked with a skewer or fork, 15 to 18 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and let cool.
While the potatoes are cooking, pat dry the steak with paper towels. If it is much thicker than 1/2 inch, press it with your palms to flatten it slightly.
Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of salt onto it on your cutting board, and chop some more, smearing it with the side of your knife to make a paste. Rub the garlic paste into the steak on both sides. Generously season the steak with black pepper. Sprinkle the flour all over the steak, spreading the flour on lightly with your fingers. Gently shake off the excess flour.
Pour the olive oil into a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, lay the steak in the pan and let it cook until the coating on the bottom turns golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook on the other side for another minute or so, for a medium-rare to medium steak. Transfer the steak to a plate and loosely cover it with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Pour off all but a teaspoon or so of the oil from the skillet and return it to medium heat.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, transfer them to your countertop and use a spatula or the side of a cook’s knife and your palm to gently flatten them. Season lightly with salt, then use a spatula to transfer them to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (It’s okay if they break up a little in the pan). Transfer the potatoes to the plate with the steak.
Add the anchovy to the skillet, still over medium heat. Add the butter and cook until it melts and foams. Scrape up any browned bits in the pan, then stir in the lemon juice and parsley.
Pour the sauce over the steak and potatoes, and eat.