Piatti Perfetto

Rome is one of my favorite places on earth. When I am lucky enough to visit this ancient city, it feels like returning home. For most people, it might be the vatican or the ancient aqueducts that draws them near, but for me, it is the food. I love the way the Italians eat. Simplicita. Simplicity. They don't pile things on a plate. Instead, each course is plated seperately and served a delicious chapters to be savored bite by bite, dish by dish. Although my appetite is not always hearty enough to sample all courses, I usually have a piatti, or main course. One of my favorite dishes I first tasted in Rome is Rucola e manzo con limone. Fresh, tender argula leaves with seared beef and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It is the most perfect, most flavorful meal.

It is a mild winter here in my hometown, the perfect time to grow tender, young arugula greens. It is also Meyer lemon season. Grown primarily in California, Meyer lemons are one of my most favorite winter fruits. They are said to be a cross of tangerines and lemons, sweet yet floral and aromatic, with a milder flavor. Greens need only a squeeze of fresh Meyer lemons and a good extra virgin olive with a pinch of sea salt. Top that with another of my favorite seasonal fruits, pomegranate seeds. When I am not eating them in wedges over the kitchen sink, I add the crimson jewels to champagne cocktails, fresh greek yoghurt with chicken and salads. Their tangy sweetness and crunch is the perfect condiment to liven any dish.

And the beef. I recently tried Kobe beef for the first time. Our local specialty grocer, Star Provisions {www.starprovisions.com} carries only the finest, freshest and most innovative ingredients. Whether fresh meats from the butcher or gourmet staples for the pantry, I know I can always count on Star to cater to my every whim. Tonight, they recommended kobe beef. It was incredible! Kobe beef refers to beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. . Wagyu ("Japanese Cattle") are renowned for flavour, tenderness, and fatty well-marbled texture, qualities enhanced by the traditional methods of raising Kobe beef. Today, most kobe beef we buy is now procured from cattle raised in the United States. Niman Ranch is the favored artisan purveyor. They will deliver this delicious beef right to your door {www.nimanranch.com}.

Cooking the beef to tender perfection only requires a simple searing with sea salt and fresh herbs and a quick cook in a 350 degree oven, and you have the most tender, flavorful beef I have ever had.

So, whether you are in Rome, Japan, or cooking in your own kitchen, enjoy a seemingly decadent meal made easy.

Seared Kobe Beef with Arugula Salad

1# Kobe beef
1 Tbsp. Savory Salts*
fresh cracked pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Cups tender, baby arugula leaves, washed and dried
2 Tbsp. meyer lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive OIl
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 fresh pomegranate seeds

Sprinkle the beef with savory salts {a mixture of 1 part dried or fresh herbs and 2 parts sea salt}. Heat the oil in a saute pan until smoking. Add the beef and sear on each side until brown and carmelized, about 1 minute. Place pan in oven and cook until cooked to the touch, about 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness. Remove from the oven to rest.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil into the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, toss the arugula leaves with just enough vinaigrette to lightly coat. Top with pomegranate seeds.

Slice the beef against the grain and lay slices on the arugula greens.

mangia! Serves two.

Buon appetito!

Copyright 2007 Alisa Barry

No comments: