For our first recipe of the week from Deborah Krasner's Good Meat I thought it would be best to choose this Top Sirloin with Baby Spinach and Home Fries, a simple preparation to best showcase the difference between grass-fed and more conventional grain-fed beef. I figured that the minimalist combination of seared steak seasoned with only salt and pepper, over a bed of raw spinach with a few crisp rounds of potato would let the meaty flavors of the grass-fed beef really shine.
Once the potatoes were fried and the steak seared, left to rest, and finished with a red wine reduction I was ready to see just how this locally raised, grass-fed beef would taste. The differences were instantly apparent. The meat had a distinct tang and an incredible beefiness, and there was a pleasant chewiness without being tough or sinewy. Without cooking the steak in any sort of butter or extra fat, the flavors of the meat came through beautifully, and they had nothing to do with any sort of supermarket steak that I had ever bought. And grass-fed beef aside, the act of placing a hot steak on a bed of fresh spinach and letting the heat from the steak and the sauce gently wilt the greens was pretty spectacular in its simplicity, the juices from the steak coated every leaf of spinach making for one of the best one plate meals I've had in a long time.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Good Meat to give away this week.
- 2 to 4 cups raw baby spinach, washed and spun dry
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 or 2 large waxy potatoes, very thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound grass-fed sirloin (top loin) steak
- 1/4 cup red wine
Arrange the spinach across the surface of a serving platter and set it aside.
Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and fry the potato slices until crisp on both sides. Remove them from the hot pan and arrange them in a single layer on top of the raw spinach.
Salt and pepper the steak, and wipe out the pan. Return it to the stovetop over high heat, and pan-sear the steak until browned on the outside and medium rare within, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the steak from the pan and lay it over the potatoes and spinach to rest and to further wilt the spinach.
Turn off the heat. Immediately pour the red wine into the hot pan and scrape any particles sticking to the pan to incorporate them. Pour this sauce over the meat along with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve at once, dividing the steak at the table.