In this week’s Field Report: A push to improve federal food purchasing heats up, the first food-focused COP kicks off, dust storms accelerate, and new evidence suggests that fair-trade certifications are failing to protect farmworkers.
September 17, 2009
On the menu: : Ragout of Fresh Shell Beans, Cipollinis and Chanterelles with Grilled Flat Iron and Pimenton Butter.
Fresh shell beans, those wild Italian onions, cipollinis, and chanterelles are spontaneously everywhere. The grow together/go together axiom holds mighty tight here. This dish is a no-brainer as far as mutual affinities go.
Flat Iron (ours grass-fed from sublime Marin Sun Farms) is a rediscovered shoulder/muscle cut that is made more tender in the butchering. The steak is cut around a center fibrous tissue. It is, according to Saveur, the second tenderest cut after the tenderloin.
Still, to me this is no filet. Flat Iron has texture and nap, which I admire in a steak. Manic Kobe worship has always eluded me… why would you want your steak to be foie gras? What’s wrong with good old meatiness? And isn’t real texture back anyway with our Pollan-inspired grass-fed revolution? This fleshy Flat Iron is toothsome, and because its from muscle, also has serious steaky flavor. Cut across the grain it is racy-succulent.
My adored Spanish Pimenton (smoked paprika) gives breadth to the dainty new beans and sweet, squat onions, and boosts the smoke of the apricoty chanterelles and the charred meat. Think earthy mushroom squeak/honey-onioned goodness.
Ragout of Fresh Shell Beans, Cipollinis and Chanterelles with Grilled Flatiron and Pimenton Butter (serves 4)
4 ounces of butter, 1 stick, softened
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped tarragon or parsley
3 anchovies, mashed
1 shallot, minced
1 lemon, zest and juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Cream together butter, paprika, herbs, anchovies and shallot. Add the lemon zest and juice. Taste and season if necessary. The butter should be pungent. Shape into a log in a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Twist the ends to tighten and refrigerate until firm.
Shell Bean, Cipollini and Chanterelle Ragout
1 pound cipollini onions
Sea salt and freshly gound black pepper
2 pounds shell beans, for about 2 cups shelled, Cranberry, Flageolet, Cannellini…
1 bunch of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 chilie de Arbol, snapped in half widthwise and seeded
1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms, cut into 1 inch wedges
1 large garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock, preferably home made
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the cipollinis to blanch for about 1 minute. Drain, cool and peel. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and spread out on a sheetpan. Bake about 45 minutes or until golden and tender. Check and shake the pan every so often. Set aside.
Place the shelled beans In a medium sauce pan and cover with 2 inches of water. Add 6 sprigs of thyme, the bay leaf and the chilie. Bring to the boil then simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Pull out herbs and chili. Toss the warm beans with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Clean the chanterelles with a soft cloth/napkin. Cut into even sized, 1-inch wedges. Leave them whole if they are small. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium sauté pan until very hot. Add the chanterelles and cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring every so often, until tender and golden. Add the garlic, a teaspoon of picked thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for another minute. Add the cipollinis, the shell beans and the stock. Cook for about 5 more minutes until creamy and sauce consistency. Swirl in butter and taste. Season again if necessary. Set aside.
4 flatiron steaks, about 5 ounces each
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
The pimenton butter
1 cup arugula, or other fresh, spicy green like watercress
Fire up the grill. When hot, brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove and set on a plate, lightly covered with foil. While the steaks are resting reheat the ragout if necessary. Place about a half-cup of ragout into the center of a warmed serving plate or bowl. Top with a steak and any accumulated steak jus, a round of pimenton butter, and a little handful of of fresh greens.
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