Steak Over Arugula

steak-on-arugulaA candlelit dinner with soft music, just the two of you… you want to be at the table, enjoying your significant other’s loving gaze, not sweating in the kitchen. I hear you. I’m the same way.

When you have a quick dish in which the flavors meld into each other in a pleasing way, it only adds to the ambience of the evening. When you find a wine that compliments everything to the point that those candle flames glow a little brighter – well, you know you’ve got a winner.

I poured a Sangiovese from Montoliva Vineyard and Winery to go with dinner, the 2008 Estate Reserve Sangiovese to be exact. It accentuated the peppery flavors of the arugula and was perfect with the steak and parmesan and was even a good compliment for the second green thing on the plate – roasted broccoli with Cypress Grove’s Purple Haze chevre. The pairing ended up being a smack-your-lips delicious combination and would be a lovely addition to any Valentine’s Day plans. Plus, the meal is light enough, it will leave you room for a dessert of your choice.

Steak Over Arugula with Roasted Broccoli

serves 2
1 New York steak
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
2 handfuls of arugula
a few shavings of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
4 oz chevre

Preheat griddle over high heat.
Pat salt and pepper into both sides of the steak. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the griddle and place steak onto the griddle. Cook for about two minutes. Flip steak over, turn down heat, and cover with a lid, cooking for another four to six minutes, until an indentation left by a finger slowly bounces back. (Medium rare.) Take off heat and let rest for a couple of minutes.

While steak is cooking, scatter broccoli on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and put under the broiler until florets begin to brown. Scatter with the chevre, crumbling it as you go. Return to the broiler for a couple more minutes, until the cheese begins to brown.

Scatter arugula on two plates and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Grind some black pepper on top. Slice steak into thin strips and lay on top of the greens. Scatter Parmesan on top. Side with the roasted broccoli/chevre combination and serve right away.

Harvesting Sangio

The sun gifts us with the first light of day.

As it climbs higher in the sky, I will experience a slight ache in my back, an amazing sense of satisfaction, and a very minor buzzing in my head – the ache from harvesting grapes grown in the traditional, Italian way (tight rows and low-hanging fruit), the satisfaction from working as hard and as quickly as possible among the vines, and the buzz from the amazing champagne brunch that is our payment for a job well done.

For the past three seasons, my Charles and I have helped in Montoliva’s harvest of its estate-grown Sangiovese grapes. Each year, it’s gotten easier. In part, this is because we’re getting a bit better, but more of the success has come from nicer weather.

The harvest in 2010 was on Halloween. It was cold and stormy. It had rained the night before, so even though I was wearing a sweater underneath my raincoat, I was drenched and shivering within five minutes. 2011 was warmer and more pleasant, though there had been some moisture, so we dealt with a small amount of rot. Plus, I forgot to bring our gloves, so my Charles and I both managed to nick ourselves with our clippers. 2012 was hot and dry. The bunches were big and beautiful and dusty – no moisture, and therefore no rot, to be found.

This year’s crew was also outstanding. For the first time, the entire estate was harvested on the same day, and not only that, it was harvested in a few hours. Everyone kicked some major ass and took some major names. My Charles and I were home by noon, feeling good, though tired, and cheered by a beautiful, warm morning spent out amongst the vines.

2012 is going to be an amazing year for California wines.

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