While the main event at Blacklock is clearly the chops and steaks, it’s really important to us that our side dishes are just as much of a draw. We love chips – ours, which are cooked in beef dripping, are a labour of love designed to be as close as possible to those you get wrapped in yesterday’s news at the seaside – but alongside the classic chophouse sides, we also wanted to offer guests something a little different. It’s all about balance: we cook all our meat over open coals, and the result is crisp fat and tender meat, so we want our sides either to add to the indulgence or to cut through the richness of everything else. Here are some of our favourites from the menu.
Charred sweet potatoes
The blend of soft sweet potato and charred, burnt skin is heavenly, which explains why this very simple dish is one of our bestselling sides. We cook ours overnight in the dying embers of the barbecue, but it’s easy enough to replicate at home.
Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 300g)
2 good rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
1 big pinch smoked sea salt
1 small pinch coarsely ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, and bake the sweet potatoes whole for an hour, or until soft (use a skewer to check they’re cooked through). Meanwhile, finely chop the rosemary leaves and mix with the smoked salt and pepper.
Turn your extractor fan on full and open a window – there will now be lots of smoke. Grill the cooked sweet potatoes on a very hot cast-iron griddle pan (or barbecue), turning them regularly so they don’t stick, for about seven minutes, until the skins are blackened all over.
Cut the sweet potatoes in half, add a good knob of butter to each half, sprinkle generously with the rosemary salt and serve.
Grilled baby gem with anchovy dripping
It might sound peculiar to grill lettuce, but the result is delicious, especially when served with a punchy anchovy dressing that brings everything alive.
Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
90ml extra-virgin olive oil
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
30g anchovy fillets, drained
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 baby gem lettuce, cut in half lengthways
Put the oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in a food processor and pulse gently to a coarse sauce; don’t blitz it for too long or too fast, otherwise the sauce will get too smooth.
Tip the mix into a small saucepan, cook on a low heat until it starts to simmer, then take off the heat. At this point, the sauce might start to split, but that’s absolutely fine. Pour into a small bowl and keep at room temperature until needed.
Lay the halved baby gems cut side down in a smoking-hot cast-iron frying pan and cook for two to three minutes, until slightly blackened. Turn over the lettuce halves, cook for a further minute on the other side, then transfer to a platter.
Generously spoon the anchovy dripping on top (save any excess in the fridge for another use), making sure some of the dressing gets in between the leaves, then serve.
Kale and parmesan
The crunch of raw kale provides a great contrasting texture and flavour to meat, but it needs a little something to take it to the next level, and this lip-smacking parmesan dressing does just that.
Prep 5 min
Cook 5 min
40g parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve
60ml white-wine vinegar
30ml fresh lime juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper
150ml vegetable oil
25ml extra-virgin olive oil
10g purple kale
20g green kale
In a mini food processor, blitz the parmesan, vinegar, lime juice, mustard, 10g salt and a few grinds of pepper until smooth. With the motor going, gradually add both oils and carry on blending until emulsified.
Strip all the kale leaves off the stalks (save the latter for another use), wash in cold water and pat completely dry.
Put the leaves in a bowl, dress with the parmesan sauce, sprinkle generously with extra grated parmesan and serve.
Bread and gravy
Good gravy is the staple of any Sunday roast, but why enjoy it on only one day? We serve ours every day of the week.
Prep 5 min
Cook 30 min
10g unsalted butter
60g shallots, peeled and finely diced
1 litre good meat stock (we use a 50:50 mix of beef and veal stock)
2 slices sourdough (ideally offcuts)
2 tbsp dripping
Melt the butter in a deep-sided frying pan, then gently sweat the shallots for five minutes, until soft. Add the madeira to the pan, turn up to a medium heat and reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by a quarter.
Lightly toast the bread on both sides, then cover one side of each slice with dripping and grill so the fat caramelises – keep an eye on it, to make sure the bread doesn’t burn.
Transfer the bread to a large plate and top with the hot gravy – you should have enough leftover gravy for a roast the next day.