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.
Anchovy black olive butter
This compound butter has so many great flavours in it. Softened, caramelised shallots add a lot of sweetness and umami, the anchovies and olives bring different salt profiles, and there’s the freshness and fragrance of thyme. It’s great on steak, lamb and vegetables.
Makes approx. 1 cup Time 25 minutes
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 2 large shallots, peeled and sliced 1 anchovy fillet, finely chopped ½ tsp thyme leaves 2 tbsp oil-cured black olives, finely chopped kosher salt freshly ground black pepper
Heat a small saute pan over medium heat, then swirl in the olive oil and 1 tbsp butter. When the butter foams, add the shallots and toss to coat in the oil. Season with ¼ tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook the shallots for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until completely soft and deep golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cool. When cooled, chop shallots finely.
Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of the butter and cook until it starts to brown and smells nutty. Add the anchovy and thyme leaves and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining softened butter with the shallots, anchovy brown butter, chopped olives and ¼ tsp salt. Mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula.
Serve as is or allow to semi-set then roll into logs, wrapped in baking paper and foil to store in the freezer. Slice off pats to use with grilled meats.