Resetting the Table: Suzanne Goin's Family Holiday Feast
Recipe| December 15, 2020
Photo by Tanveer Badal
Suzanne Goin has been battling to save her Los Angeles’ restaurants since March with her staff foremost on her mind. “It’s been a distressing emotional rollercoaster,” she says.
In that context, celebrating the holidays isn’t the first thing on her mind, though she will take a day to pause and spend time with loved ones around a shared table. This year’s gathering with immediate family and two close winemaker friends features beloved produce and simple dishes that awaken childhood memories.
While Suzanne was growing up, the Goin family’s holiday table always featured a joint of beef. This year Suzanne will prepare Westholme wagyu, grilled on the plancha and served with greens and a punchy harissa vinaigrette. “I love it,” says Suzanne. “It’s different from traditional wagyu, which can almost be like foie gras in its richness. With Westholme, you get the richness and incredible texture but it’s still meaty and clean and beefy, with a sweetness at the end. I almost feel like I can taste the range where it’s been living. It tastes very pure.”
Suzanne Goin owns two Los Angeles restaurants, AOC and Tavern, plus Lucques Catering and two The Larder stores.
Westholme wagyu Manhattan strip steak with radicchio, Bloomsdale spinach and harissa vinaigrette
Photo by Tanveer Badal
I love this cut – it’s a nice, manageable piece for home, easy to cook and manage. I season it with kosher salt and black pepper, plus sea salt on one side, and I cook it on a really hot cast-iron plancha. I like to sear it really well on one side to get a nice crust, then turn it over and let it coast.
I slice the meat and serve it over half-wilted greens with a harissa dressing. I like a bit of spice and acidity with steak, and the bitterness and crunch of the greens. It’s all about balance.
Serves 4 Time: 30 minutes
4 Westholme wagyu Manhattan strip steaks 2 small heads radicchio, torn into leaves 120 grams (¼ lb) Bloomsdale spinach, destemmed and cleaned 3-4 tbsp harissa vinaigrette (recipe follows) ½ lemon, juiced kosher salt freshly ground black pepper fleur de sel or salt flakes, optiona;
Season the wagyu with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides, preferably 15 minutes before cooking, then leave out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. If you like you can also use fleur de sel on one side of the meat, pressing it in gently.
Heat a plancha or cast iron pan for a few minutes until very hot. There is no need to use oil or butter to cook the meat – the marbling means that the wagyu easily forms its own crust.
Cook on one side until you have a deep, caramelised crust then turn the meat over, shut off the heat and let the meat sear on the second side but then slowly ‘coast’ to medium rare. This whole process should take 5 to 6 minutes. Rest the wagyu on a rack for a few minutes.
Meanwhile toss the radicchio and Bloomsdale spinach with the harissa vinaigrette, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. Arrange the greens on a platter.
Slice the wagyu and arrange the slices among the leaves of spinach and radicchio. Spoon a little more harissa vinaigrette over and around the meat and greens.
Bloomsdale spinach has thick, crinkly leaves. Use regular English spinach or other leaves as an alternative.
Kosher salt has a fairly fine but not powdery grain; you can substitute with any fine salt.
Fleur de sel is crystalline sea salt.
This dressing is pretty potent with bold flavours like ancho chilli and sherry vinegar. I toss it through the greens and add a little more as a dressing over the plated wagyu.
Time 20 minutes Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 ancho chillies * 2 cloves garlic 1½ tsp salt 1 canned tomato, halved and seeds scraped out and discarded 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground caraway seeds 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 2 tbsp sherry vinegar 1 cup extra virgin olive oil squeeze lemon juice
Remove stems from chillies, tear them open, remove the seeds, and then place them in a bowl. Pour over boiling water to cover.
Pound garlic in a mortar and pestle with 1½ tsp salt.
Add the tomato and crush with the garlic.
When the chillies are cool enough to handle, drain them and pound them with the tomato and garlic in the mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the cumin, caraway, red wine vinegar and sherry vinegar. Then whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with lemon juice.
Ancho chillies are a dried form of green poblano chilli. They can be bought in spice stores and Mexican grocers.
Crushed fingerling potatoes with crème fraîche and chives
Photo by Tanveer Badal
Sourcing is very meaningful to me – I like to know the people behind the food I’m eating. I get my potatoes from a local farmer called Alex Weiser – the magic in his produce is somewhere in there between the soul and the soil. There’s respect, dedication, time, and it all goes into the flavour.
This recipe is super simple but it’s a real crowd pleaser, using the potato water to create a buttery emulsified sauce.
Serves 4 Time 40 minutes
700g (1½ lb) fingerling potatoes * 4 tbsp unsalted butter few sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped ¼ cup crème fraîche 20 chives, snipped into 1cm (½ in) lengths kosher salt cracked black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover generously with cold water and add 1 tbsp salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Reserve a cup of the water and strain the potatoes.
Return the potatoes to the pot and turn the heat on to dry them for a minute before adding the butter and ½ tsp salt. Stir to coat the potatoes with the butter and add a few tablespoons of cooking water to moisten the potatoes and create a little buttery sauce to coat them.
Taste for seasoning and stir in the parsley.
Spoon the potatoes into a large bowl and top with the crème fraîche, chives, and cracked black pepper.
Fingerling potatoes are small, slightly elongated potatoes. Kipflers are one type of fingerling.
Roasted cauliflower with anchovy black olive butter
Photo by Tanveer Badal
1 small head cauliflower 1 tbsp picked thyme leaves 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 4 spring onions, shallots or young green onions, greens attached * handful sprouting broccoli, broccolini or young broccoli ⅓ cup anchovy black olive butter (see above) 1 lemon, juice only kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Cut cauliflower into 6 or 8 wedges leaving the core intact so each wedge holds its shape.
Place the wedges on an oven tray (sheet pan) and brush with 2 tbsp olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and half the thyme. Roast in the oven about 15 minutes until the cauliflower is tender and slightly caramelised.
Meanwhile, trim the root end (but leave the root intact) and any brown or less than beautiful part of the greens from the onions. Toss onions in 2 tbsp olive oil, season with salt, pepper and the remaining thyme and place on an oven tray (sheet pan) or baking dish. Cook 10-15 minutes until tender and slightly caramelised.
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, wait one minute and then swirl in 2 tbsp olive oil. Add the broccoli to the pan, season with salt and pepper and toss gently for a few minutes in the oil.
After 3 minutes, or when you can see the broccoli is beginning to cook, add the anchovy black butter and toss well to coat. Cook a few more minutes until the broccoli is just cooked. Turn off the flame, season with lemon juice and taste.
Arrange the wedges of cauliflower on a platter. Place the onions in and around the wedges. Pile the broccoli up on top, spooning any anchovy butter left in the pan around the other vegetables.
Suzanne uses long-stemmed young green onions, called ‘spring onions’ in the US. Use any tender green onion.