It was an impromptu “market dinner” at home. I had been to three markets in the morning and went a little wild. So we texted a few friends and had six people to dinner at 7pm last night. I started dinner preparations at 5:30pm, and meal was ready by 7:30pm, with lots of time in-between to doodle and get ready. The appetizers included skewers of home semi-dried cherry tomatoes with basil and bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), a purchased Moroccan eggplant spread, a plate of Italian Salami sent by a friend, and guests brought a cold spread of fish, capers and fennel. Total hodge-podge of stuff for guests to pick and choose as they pleased. For the main course buffet, we put out this plate of modified carpaccio which I will describe in more detail below, a pasta with crab meat, sambal and preserved lemons (featured here before), a tossed green salad with two kinds of tomatoes, and vegetable side dishes of baby carrots with butter and maple syrup and broccolini with garlic, chilies and lemon juice. Part of the objective of the dinner was to make use of as much of the market bounty we had acquired earlier in the day. Dessert was a choice of three kinds of frozen yogurt (brought by guests) and several types of dark chocolate. Coffee or tea. :)
The first portion of beef that I wanted to try was labeled “Beef Sirloin.” After I defrosted it, I was pretty sure it was a piece of beef tenderloin instead, so hastily changed plans for the dish. A wonderful carpaccio (raw beef) was earlier suggested by the vendor, but I was just a bit concerned about cooties so I decided to quickly sear the tenderloin just to brown the surface area and slice it thinly and serve it as one might serve a more normal carpaccio. There was some concern that the grass fed and pasture raised beef would be tougher, hence this type of preparation seemed well suited to the cut and type of meat. To make, dry the tenderloin of beef well with paper towels. Season it with lots of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Massage some olive oil onto the surface of the meat as well. Heat up a stainless or cast iron pan and when it is smoking, place the beef in the pan and turn it slightly every 30 seconds or so until just browned and sear the ends of the tenderloin cut as well. I then placed this in a hot oven for about 2-3 minutes and then removed it and placed it on a plate to cool and for the juices to stabilize.
After a minimum of 20-25 minutes of resting, slice the beef as thinly as possible with a sharp knife and lay the pieces on a large serving platter. They should be wickedly rare pieces of meat, with just a seared edge visible due to the cross cut. I then garnished with some baby beet root leaves, added beautiful lime green lima beans (first blanced and peeled), some long shavings of superb parmiggiano reggiano, and a light sprinkle of bull’s blood beet microgreens. I drizzled everything with a sauce made from good mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard and lemon juice seasoned with salt and pepper.
This dish was delicious. I really liked it. So easy to make, so festive and special to look at. With the exception of the cheese, olive oil and mustard, it was totally locally sourced. If I had to do this again, I might omit the lima beans (despite their stunning color) because they took away from the intense flavor of the beef, and I would have left more of the beef visible rather than hidden under all the garnishes.