Meat the Manchurian Mothership

Grilled Porterhouse Steak sliced over Mashed Manchurian Shell Beans with Jamie’s Mothership Tomato Sauce.Sounds like something that might be on a “menu changes daily” restaurant menu. Actually, it’s what I made for dinner Friday night.It all started at the Marin Sun Farms stand at the Farmers Market. I was in the mood for steak and looking for a New York strip steak when I came across this big gorgeous Porterhouse. It cost $24, but was easily big enough for two meals. Oh boy.porterhouse.pngphoto: Cooks ThesaurusSlow Food Nation was over and the week was warm and lovely in San Francisco. I was in a grilling frenzy — grilled chicken thighs over summer vegetables and grilled brats with cabbage in a sweet sour sauce led off the week. I got the Porterhouse out of the meat drawer and showered it with salt and pepper. Now what?Manchurian shell beans are similar to Cranberry beans. I had some in the fridge that were crying to be used. In the same vegetable drawer was a head of broccoli. Leftover tomato salad could be used to complete the meal; all I needed was a method.

The broccoli is easy, just steam it and dress it with some butter and vinaigrette.I remembered a restaurant meal, sometime, somewhere, and a dish of sliced steak over mashed potatoes with tomato gravy. I liked that. I could do something like that, just substitute beans for the potatoes and make the LO tomatoes into a sauce.


I shelled and cooked the beans — I had about a cup — with a miripoix of finely chopped celery, onion and carrot. The beans cooked to very tender in less than 30 minutes. I mashed them with a little bean juice, parsley, a couple pieces of oven dried tomato, salt and pepper. That’s good.


The tomato salad was from a Jamie Oliver recipe, “The Mothership Tomato Salad.” I saw it on TV in the same episode that he did Tomato and Sausage Bake — see Cooking from the TV. It’s totally easy, totally good, adaptable and already made (recipe below). I whirled the leftover salad (tomatoes, herbs and vinaigrette) in a food processor with parsley and added breadcrumbs to smooth the consistency. I cooked that down a little bit and had a sauce.Just before grilling, I steamed and dressed the broccoli and put it back in the pan to keep warm. Once the steak was grilled and resting, I reheated the beans and sauce and warmed the plates.


Now that was good and EZ and the very essence of eats for one (or two).


The Mothership Tomato SaladRecipe Excerpted from JAMIE AT HOME by Jamie Oliver. (Sadly, Jamie at Home is no longer on the Food Network.)

This is an incredible tomato salad but there are two things to remember if you want to wow your guests with something so simple. The first is that you should try to get a mixture of different, tasty, local (if possible) tomatoes in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Second, the flavor is brought out by salting the tomatoes, so don’t skip this bit. Some people get worried about putting this much salt on their food, but the bulk of it will drip off, leaving you with really beautiful, intensely flavored tomatoes.

2 1/4 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, different shapes and colorsSea salt and freshly ground black pepperA good pinch dried oreganoRed wine or balsamic vinegarExtra-virgin olive oil1 clove garlic, peeled and grated1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely chopped

(Jamie didn’t say to peel the tomatoes, but I peeled mine.)

Depending on the size of your tomatoes, slice some in half, some into quarters and others into uneven chunks. Straightaway this will give you the beginnings of a tomato salad that’s really brave and exciting to look at and eat. Put the tomatoes into a colander and season with a good pinch of sea salt.Give them a toss, season again and give a couple more tosses. The salt won’t be drawn into the tomatoes; instead it will draw any excess moisture out, concentrating all the lovely flavors. Leave the tomatoes in the colander on top of a bowl to stand for around 15 minutes, then discard any juice that has come out of them.Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle over the oregano. Make a dressing using 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, the garlic and the chile. Drizzle the tomatoes with enough dressing to coat everything nicely.This is a fantastic tomato salad, which is totally delicious to eat on its own. It’s also great served with some balls of mozzarella or some nice, grilled ciabatta bread.


Jamie went on to describe other ways to use the Mothership Tomato Salad:Second wayTake some of the tomato salad and chop fine, chop in a good bit of cilantro. Serve with hot pasta, fusilli.Third waySquish some of the tomato salad with your hands, add herbs, throw in some fresh mozzerella. Hot pasta, again.My way — BLT salad Based on Jamie Oliver Mothership Tomato Salad

1, Peel and cut tomatoes.2, Put the tomatoes into a colander and season with a good pinch of sea salt. Give them a toss, season again and give a couple more tosses. Leave the tomatoes in the colander on top of a bowl to stand for around 15 minutes; discard any juice that has come out of them.3. Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and sprinkle over the oregano.4. Make croutons5. Chop some lettuce, I prefer little gems6. Cut sliced bacon into half inch strips, fry and drain on paper towels,7. Make your vinaigrette using part bacon fat, part olive oil and vinegar.8. Toss tomatoes with bacon, lettuce and croutons.

Yum.The Mothership Tomato Salad is quite wonderful, AND as or more wonderful leftover in the fridge for a couple of days.

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