steak, ramp butter; brussels sprouts, chili; tomatoes, basil

No micro greens of any kind were harmed in bringing this dinner to the table.

It was a pretty simple meal. I wanted to make it so because I didn’t feel up to any challenges last night, and because, having decided the centerpiece on the plate would be a terrific small beef steak and, after that, that the principle vegetable would be Brussels sprouts, I knew there wouldn’t be any need for contrivances or adornments.

But the steak was a very special steak; the sprouts, while perhaps not out of the ordinary otherwise, were accompanied this time by one complex dried chili pepper; and the tomatoes, included mostly for their color, happened to be “the best cherry tomatoes”, by both the farmer’s testimony and my own.

  • a single small (eleven and a half-ounce) grass-fed, grain finished culotte, or picayna steak from Sun Fed Beef in the Union Square Greenmarket, brought to room temperature, halved crosswise, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, seared briefly on the top, or thick, fat-covered side inside an oval enameled heavy cast iron pan, the other, long sides cooked for 2 or 3minutes each, then the ends and the narrow bottom side seared, each very briefly, the steaks removed from the pan, perfectly medium-rare, arranged on 2 warm plates, each topped with a pat of defrosted ramp butter that I had made last April using some small, first-of-the-season woodland ramps from Lucky Dog Organic, a bit of juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods Market, and some Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’, the steaks then allowed to rest for about 4 minutes
  • a couple dozen Brussels sprouts from Lani’s Farm, the little cabbages liberated from their stalk moments before, tossed inside a bowl with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus one whole hot dried Sicilian peperoncino from Buon Italia (it can be seen at 12:30 in the picture at the top), roasted inside a medium size unglazed seasoned Pampered Chef pan until the sprouts were partly brown and crisp on the outside (at which time they taste surprisingly sweet and somewhat nutty)