By Pattie Garrett
Winter is edging toward spring. We might be daydreaming of summer evenings on the deck, savoring a steak from a pasture-raised cow raised by Longlesson, Lewis Waite, M&A, or Norseman farms grilled over a barbecue. Yet, as the chill from the still lingering snow emanates upwards, we quickly shift that line of thinking toward the warmth of indoors.
Fortunately, the meat and produce farmers at the weekly Saratoga Farmers’ Market can help us navigate that seasonal divide. The secret to a successful steak lies of course in how you prepare it. But that preparation is also enhanced by the tantalizing toppings that you add.
So consider fresh arugula from Pleasant Valley or Shushan Hydro Farms as a topping or side dish. Or mushrooms from Mariaville Mushrooms sautéed with bacon, garlic and rosemary. Or even perhaps a garlic herb butter with fresh pea shoots as a side.
Steaks that you buy at the farmers’ market will be frozen upon purchase. To enjoy their flavor to the fullest, give them some time to thaw completely. Don’t rush this process, advises Janet Lampman, of Lewis Waite Farm.
Before preparing the thawed steak, give it 30 minutes on the kitchen counter to come to room temperature. Then, dry it with a paper towel, and place it in a skillet – ideally cast iron – that is big enough to allow at least one inch of space around the steak.
Lampman suggests cooking the steak at a high heat for 2 minutes on each side, and then placing the skillet in an oven, heated to 200 degrees F, for an additional five to seven minutes. Then remove the steak from the pan but allow it to sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, which allows it to continue to cook as the internal temperature rises, then falls.
To top your steak, try:
- Combining chopped garlic and herbs such as rosemary and thyme with butter. Roll the mixture into parchment paper, chill for two hours, and then slice over the steak.
- Sprinkling fresh pea shoots or arugula over the steak before serving.
- Sauteeing chopped bacon, oyster mushrooms, chopped garlic, herbs, and a dash of wine together and then pouring over the steak just before serving.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market operates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through April at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park.