buffalo filet steak au poivre; cherry tomatoes; haricots verts

It was the first meal I’d cooked in 24 days. We had returned from Berlin on Wednesday, the day before, too late for a visit the Union Square Greenmarket, and naturally there was nothing fresh in the kitchen, so we ordered a good pizza from one of our favorite kitchens.

Our next local market day wouldn’t be until Friday, so I scanned the GrowNYC site for the list of those open on Thursdays, and decided I’d head for Tucker Square the next afternoon. I knew there wouldn’t be any fish there (it’s a much smaller group of producers than that in Union Square), and I couldn’t be sure of what meats would be available, so I moved to the refrigerator the only entrée I had in the freezer.

It was a choice one.

  • two previously frozen water buffalo filet steaks or tournedos (under 6 ounces each) from Riverine Ranch in the Union Square Greenmarket, wrapped with strips of fresh pork belly fat obtained from Joseph Ottomanelli, one of the brothers who run their family’s iconic shop on Bleecker Street (I separated the outer, skin layer from the one inch-wide sections on the kitchen counter, and secured the fat with both toothpicks and butcher’s string), dried with paper towels, pressed on both sides with one and a half teaspoons of crushed black peppercorns, sandwiched in wax paper and allowed to rest on the counter for over an hour before they were sautéed in a mixture of butter and olive oil inside an oval enameled cast iron pan for about 3 or 4 minutes each side, removed, seasoned at this point with sea salt and kept warm, the butter, oil, and accumulated meat fats removed from the pan and 2 teaspoons of a sliced ‘camelot’ Dutch red shallot from Quarton Farm added, along with a little butter, and stirred for just a minute, 2 or 3 tablespoons of a good beef stock poured in and boiled down, while scraping up the coagulated cooking juices, until thickened, followed by 2 tablespoons of Courvoisier V.S. cognac, which was also boiled until its alcohol evaporated, and then, off heat, one or two tablespoons of butter stirred nto the sauce (about half a tablespoon at a time), the sauce poured over the filets

  • ten ripe sweet cherry tomatoes from Stokes Farm (‘the best cherry tomatoes‘), washed, dried, halved, heated for a minute in a little olive oil inside a small tin-lined copper skillet, seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkled with fresh thyme from Stokes Farm