Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 1:49 am | Mostly Cloudy 59º


Joe Hafner: Mouthwatering Steak Recipe Fresh from the Farmers Market

Here is the first of an occasional series of recipes made using ingredients picked from our lovely Farmers Market. I’ll try to keep them simple and straightforward, and allow you time to enjoy the meal and keep your time in the kitchen and cleanup to a minimum.

In our house, we almost never eat beef. It has simply lost a place in our rotation as we moved toward a lighter diet since arriving in California. However, the urge takes over from time to time.

Remember: Beef isn’t bad for you; beef that has been pumped with hormones and antibiotics is bad for you. Everything in moderation, as they say. Most doctors or nutritionists aren’t going to make you sacrifice a portion once in awhile.

Here’s the plan ...

Take a walk down to the Farmers Market and grab a few steaks from Rancho San Julian beef. It sells all natural, local, properly raised beef from Santa Barbara County. It may seem expensive at $21 a pound, but we grabbed two bone-in steaks, a rib-eye and a New York strip for $31. At any restaurant, the tab for two steaks would easily exceed $60, so look at it as a deal.

Then grab a half-pound of fresh spinach from any number of vendors and a head of fresh garlic. Also pick up three of the ripest beefsteak tomatoes you can find and head home.

At this point in the growing season, great tomatoes are available from and they are getting better every day. The tomatoes we purchased were phenomenal. Grab a bunch of thyme and rosemary if you are not growing it. You’ll also need unsalted butter.

All Natural Beef with Beefsteak Tomatoes and Sautéed Spinach

Prepare a large sauté pan big enough to fit both steaks with room to spare. This is a one-pan dish. Read the recipe a few times before you start!

» 1. Defrost the steaks if need be, the day before or under cold water. This should only take 20 minutes. Dry them off and let them come to room temperature.

» 2. Pick the spinach stems off and tear up the large leaves as you do so. Rinse under cold water. Break of a few cloves of garlic and peel. Chop them as finely as you can. Reserve. Break up the remaining garlic head and rough chop it — skins and all. Reserve. Sauté the chopped garlic in oil, add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and stir the spinach in the sauté pan until it begins to wilt. Check the seasoning. Remove from the pan to a covered bowl. Wipe out the pan and put it on high heat.

» 3. Season the steaks with salt on both sides. Coat the pan with vegetable or grape seed oil. Olive oil is nice, but the low smoke point makes it unsuitable for cooking at high heat. Carefully lay the steaks in the pan and keep the heat at medium high. Allow the steaks to cook approximately two minutes and then flip to brown the other side. Once the steaks are brown on both sides, add the butter, smashed up garlic and herbs. Turn up the heat — when the butter browns, spoon it over the top of the steaks to help the browning process.

Remove the steaks and rest on a plate lined with a paper towel while you assemble the final dish. Resting helps the steak absorb the juices and continue to cook evenly. For the thickness of steak we used from Rancho San Julian, they will be medium rare to medium, perfect for grass-fed beef.

» 4. Slice the tomatoes and spread over half of the plate with a splash of olive oil and flaky salt. I use Maldon sea salt. Divide the spinach between the plates and add the steaks. A twist of cracked black pepper, and you are ready to go.

A big, juicy cabernet will complement this dish. We had a 2010 Lava Vines Cabernet from Calistoga because we had it handy, but also recommend a Jaffurs Petite Sirah if you want to keep it local.

See you next week!

— Chef Joe Hafner writes the weekly Noozhawk column Word of Mouth and can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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