Okay men, gather round. Women – you too, but mostly just so that you can get an idea of what you’re in for. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.
So, guys… if you haven’t figured this out by now, let me tell you once and for all – a bit of skill in the kitchen gets you a long way in the grueling Iron Man race that is “Trying to Get Women To Like You”. I guess it’s because they’ve got some sort of leftover primal checklist that has an enormous part of it dedicated to food, and you sure as hell want a big tick next to your name when it comes to the “Delicious In The Kitchen Means Delicious Out Of It As Well” part of the questionnaire. Having said that, I’m not expecting everyone to suddenly become (God forbid) Jamie Oliver, because that would just be like some horrible videogame where the knives aren’t for stabbing pimps. What I am saying is that every man should have one dish, one dazzling specialty that he can rely on to convince a girl that “Oh he’s not bad after all…”: a Panty Dropper if you will. Because, with one of these in the armoury, just about anyone will be immediately convinced of a) dazzling charm, breath-taking sensitivity, intelligence and general awesomeness, and b) is less likely to fake a phone-call from her Grannie “because she really needs someone to go round and help manage her facebook profile”.
Let me get this straight, this is not something you waste on Auntie Merle and her annual tour-of-anywhere-that’s-not-Vanderbijl-Park. This is not something you make for your friends when they come around for ‘Book Club’. My fellow men – this is an Alpha Dish and should be treated with reverence – kept for special occasions and used sparingly.
So, what makes a good panty dropper?
1) An expensive, perhaps even slightly exotic main ingredient.
2) A ‘secret’ technique that you don’t divulge – especially to the panty dropee – and even if you don’t have one, pretend that you do.
3) A recipe that is essentially very simple, but allows you to look flash in the kitchen (lots of chopping, saucing and sizzling).
4) And… it needs to taste fucking spectacular – obviously.
And so, because I’m looking out for the interests of single men everywhere: here is one of mine.
Ingredients (for 2)
Before we kick off, the essence and foundation of this whole recipe is the Pomegranate Molasses marinade. Now obviously pomegranates are stupidly expensive, as are Tuna Steaks – but this is what puts this recipe into the realm of ‘only bring out for reeeally special occasions’. I’m obviously not offering this up as an everyday staple. Also – if you can’t get fresh pomegranates, most supermarkets offer a range of syrups and concentrates – just make sure you’re getting one that’s organic, free of preservatives and not just a bunch of chemicals pretending to look like a pomegranate.
1 garlic clove
half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
a small handful of finely-chopped coriander leaves
a healthy dash of fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fresh tuna steaks
What to do:
So this is the fun part – and can also be done in advance, because it gets fairly messy. I use an orange-juicer, but just about any lemon-squeezer (even the fairly low-tech ones) will work just as well.
Cut all the pomegranates in half, and then squeeze as much juice from the seeds as you can. Ten pomegranates should give you a decent cup of juice. If there are any pulpy bits in it once you’re done, just pass it through a sieve to make sure you’re just left with nothing but liquid.
Get a saucepan over a low-to-medium heat and add the juice. As it warms up, dissolve a third of a cup of caster sugar into the juice and keep stirring. Gradually increase the heat until you’ve got a syrupy consistency that’s bubbling gently. Do not let this overheat and burn. You’ll see that it gets a silky quality after about 2o minutes of stirring on a medium, bubbling heat and that’s pretty much when it’s done. Make sure you taste at this point – ideally this shouldn’t be too sweet – a bit of fruity tartness should still be present in the molasses.
Cover a garlic clove with the salt and then, using a flat butter-knife, crush the garlic into the salt and keep going until it has combined to make a smooth paste. Add this to the molasses, along with the cinnamon, coriander seeds, chopped coriander leaves, black pepper and olive oil and mix thoroughly until it’s all combined.
Then add the Tuna steaks and, making sure that they’ve got a good covering of marinade, leave to soak for at least 2 hours.
Heat a pan (I always use a ridged one – mostly just because it gives it those totally sexy griddle lines) and into it add a bit of butter and some olive oil. Once the pan has gotten really hot, add the steaks.
Flash-fry for about 2 minutes on each side and then serve hot, spooning some of the remaining marinade over the steaks. Serve with some steamed vegetables and either boiled or roasted new potatoes.
At this point, the rest is up to you – I can’t help you with chronic personality failures. Just avoid conversations about how you used play Dungeons and Dragons and everything should be okay.