culotte, garlic flowers, savory; seared okra, chilis; salsa

Maybe I was thinking just steak and okra would be too white-bread.

In any event, I had this big beautiful yellow/orange heirloom tomato which was aching to be a part of this meal, so I decided to turn it into a salsa. It became a problem when I added some jalapeño, even a really, really small amount of jalapeño, to a mix that wasn’t going to be heated (and chopped very finely, which I later found had only added to the problem, because it made it almost impossible to spot and remove the offending source of heat).

Neither of us is afraid of a little capsicum, but the salsa, while it suggested it would have been very interesting had it been more tamed, turned out to be almost impossible to enjoy. I eventually managed to pick out pieces of tomato that showed no sign of any pepper bits, but I was sorry we both missed the kind of refreshing salsa that would have been a spicy exclamation point for the meal.

I think that biting directly into a pepper obviously gives a much more concentrated dose of the chili oils, and cooking them with other ingredients would spread them through a dish more evenly, reducing the impact because the oil would have been distributed throughout a much larger volume of food.

  • two thick picanya cuts of steak (10.8 ounces each) 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 4 or 5 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), arranged on warm plates, a bit of juice from an organic Chelsea Whole Foods Market Mexican lemon squeezed on top, followed by a drizzle of a little Portuguese olive oil, a Whole Foods’ house brand, scattered with garlic flowers from Alewife Farm and chopped summer savory from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, allowed to rest for about 4 minutes before being served

  • twelve ounces or so of small (mostly) green okra from Campo Rosso Farm, sautéed over a high flame inside a very large enameled cast iron pan in a little bit of olive oil along with 3 tiny dried peperoncino Calabresi secchi from Buon Italia, seasoned with local sea salt
  • one large yellow/orange heirloom tomato from Eckerton Hill Farm cut into relatively thin wedges, mixed gently inside a medium bowl with a very small part of a fresh jalapeño pepper, very finely cut, one fresh sliced habanada pepper (the first of the season) from from Campo Rosso Farm, a bit of sliced fresh red onion, salt and pepper, a pinch or so of cumin seed, a good squeeze of lemon, and a little olive oil, allowed to rest until the steak and potatoes were ready to be served, at which time they were joined by some chopped fresh epazote from TransGenerational Farm, arranged inside low black bowls and scattered with micro red amaranth from Two Guys from Woodbridge
  • the wine was a Portuguese (Duriense/Douro-Porto) red, Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 2014, from Garnet Wines
  • the music was Johann Christian Bach’s 1772 opera, L’Endimione, Bruno Weill conducting the Cappella Coloniensis