There are a few reasons why this recipe is just right for tonight. The first reason is that it’s early summer in San Francisco and it’s freezing. Not literally, but enough to feel obliged to apologize profusely to visitors from out of town. Enough to don fleece outerwear to venture out to the grill, where hands are briskly warmed between flipping the burgers. Or enough to appear like it’s raining when technically it is not, but the mist from the fog is so heavy it soaks the garden furniture and leave puddles on the steps.
Another reason why this meal is just right is this is the first day following a whirlwind celebratory week of graduations, house guests and parties. When lists were made to remember lists. When we had great fun, but didn’t have a moment to reflect on that fun. When we indulged and consumed and quite likely forgot to eat our vegetables. Today we now have the time and space to remember and to reflect – and to also eat a balanced meal.
This recipe corrals the seasons’ best farmers market produce, hearty farro, and a few lone pieces of steak left over in the fridge, in one big warming yet fresh meal brimming with health and good flavor. You can grill the steak or pan fry it, depending on the weather.
Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon
Shelled English peas or edamame may be substituted for the garbanzos.
3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye or New York steaks, about 1-inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh garbanzos (chick peas)
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. (or grill over direct high heat, turning once or twice, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garbanzos and blanch until bright green but still crisp, about 1 minute.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the garbanzos over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.