Veal sirloin with stewed tomatoes and pesto

Serves 4
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We have been using a lot of Irish "rose" veal this year, mainly from Jack O'Shea who has a butcher's shop in London's Knightsbridge and runs the butchery counter in Selfridges Food Hall. His veal comes from County Wicklow; our other supplier is further north – Ben Weatherall, who provides Scottish Brymore veal.

I've gently cooked down a selection of tomatoes here to create a nice chunky tomato sauce. You could serve this with chicken, pork or a robust fish – or even serve it as it is, as a side dish or starter.

4 veal sirloins, weighing about 150-200g each
Vegetable or corn oil for brushing
4 medium shallots, peeled, halved and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A few sprigs of oregano or marjoram
4tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
350-400g tomatoes (assorted varieties)

For the pesto

20g pine nuts, lightly toasted
50-60g fresh basil leaves and any soft stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A good pinch of sea salt
3tbsp freshly grated Parmesan or mature pecorino
100-120ml extra virgin olive oil (preferably a sweeter olive oil)

First make the pesto: put the pine nuts, basil, garlic and salt in a liquidiser and coarsely blend. Add the cheese and blend again briefly, then transfer to bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan and gently cook the shallots, garlic and oregano for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into even-sized chunks and add to the shallots. Season, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, giving the occasional stir, until the tomatoes have softened. Re-season if necessary and keep warm with the lid on.

Meanwhile, heat a ribbed griddle, barbecue or heavy frying pan and brush with the vegetable oil. Season the veal and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, keeping them nice and pink.

To serve, spoon the tomatoes on to warmed serving dishes, slice the veal and lay on top; spoon the pesto on to the veal.