seared culotte; rosemary/habanada rutabaga frites, tomato

It was Memorial Day weekend, so I made an attempt to observe the holiday that once celebrated the countless dead in our many wars but which now marks the beginning of the summer season.

On Sunday night we had steak and French fries, with a tomato salad, or, to be more precise, seared and sautéed culotte steaks and rutabaga oven fries with something more like a sweet and sour tomato salsa.

  • two 7-ounce culotte steaks from Sunfed (grain finished) from Greg and Mike of Sun Fed Beef/Maple Avenue Farms in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared briefly on the top, or thick fat-covered side (much of the fat is rendered in the cooking, and the rest just makes the steak taste wonderful), inside an oval enameled cast iron pan, then cooked for 3 or 4 minutes on each side to rare-to-medium-rare, after which the narrow bottom side was seared, very briefly, the steaks removed from the pan, placed on the plates, juice from an organic Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed on top, sprinkled with chopped lovage from Berried treasures Farm, drizzled with a Whole Foods Market Spanish (‘Seville’) house olive oil, and allowed to rest for about 4 minutes

The cut rutabaga was tossed into a bowl with olive oil and some friendly seasonings before it saw the oven.

  • a little over a pound of rutabaga from Tamarack Hollow Farm, washed, dried, peeled, and cut as for French fries, tossed with about one tablespoon of olive oil, some sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, some leaves that had been torn from a few sprigs of Stokes Farm rosemary, and a bit of crushed dried pieces of  golden/bronze habanada pepper, then spread evenly, without crowding, onto 2 large, seasoned, unglazed ceramic oven pans, roasted at 400º for about 30 or 35 minutes, garnished with micro bronze fennel from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • more than a handful of small, very sweet grape tomatoes from Kernan Farms in southern New Jersey, halved, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, a few drops of white balsamic vinegar, and a little chopped flowering sage from Stokes Farm, arranged inside 2 small ceramic prep bowls placed on top of the plates, each of them garnished with a flowered stem of the herb
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Douro) red, Crasto Douro Superior 2014, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was Gloria Coates’ fourth and seventh symphonies