culotte steak, chives; habanada-roasted potatoes; lacinato

The best steak.

The plate suggested the New York steak house classic: Steak and potatoes, with something green on the side. There were even chives, but they weren’t to be found on the baked potato, and the vegetable proved that everything green is not spinach. Actually, I think everything was very different.

We don’t eat out much, and I think neither of us has been to a real steak house more than once in our lives.

In fact, we don’t eat beef of any kind very often, but when we do it’s normally a steak, and the steaks I’ve chosen more and more are of a single perfect cut, the sirloin cap steak (aka ‘rump cover’, ‘rump cap’, or ‘culotte’ in the United States, and ‘coulotte’ in France, ‘picanha’ in Brazil). There are reasons for this, and we’re reminded of them every time we’re able to enjoy the texture and the flavor of this great cut.

I’m noting right now, for my own records at least, that for once no fancy micro greens showed up for dinner. Maybe it was an unconscious obeisance to the sturdy fare served in the classic steak houses that still remain in this city.

  • one perfect, frozen 23-ounce picanha/culotte steak from Sun Fed Beef in the Union Square Greenmarket, defrosted, brought to room temperature, seasoned on all sides with sea salt and a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper, seared for less than a minute on the top, thick, fat-covered side inside a dry oval heavy enameled cast iron pan, then the 2 long sides cooked for 3 or 4 minutes each and the ends briefly seared, removed from the pan at the moment it had become perfectly medium-rare (checking with an instant-read thermometer), carefully cut crosswise into 2 pieces of the same weight, arranged on warm plates, a bit of juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods Market lemon squeezed on top, followed by a drizzle of a little of Trader Joe’s Italian Reserve extra unfiltered virgin olive oil, scattered with scissored fresh chives from Phillips Farms, the steaks allowed to rest for about 4 minutes before being served

  • just under a pound of La Ratte potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, halved lengthwise, tossed with olive oil, a small amount of crushed dried habanada pepper, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, roasted inside a large seasoned Pampered Chef ceramic oven pan, cut side down, inside a 400º oven for about 20 minutes

  • one not-so-large bunch of high tunnel-raised cavolo nero (aka lacinato, Tuscan kale, or black kale, among other names) from Norwich Meadows Farm, wilted briefly inside a heavy antique medium size tin-lined copper pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil after several halved cloves of garlic, also from Norwich Meadows, had first been heated there until fragrant and softened, the greens seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and drizzled with a little more oil
  • the wine was a Spanish (Catalonia/Priorat) red, Sao del Coster Priorat 2015, from Crush Wine & Spirits


[image of Gander’s album cover from KAIROS]