By Diane Stopford
Any cook knows that the best ingredients require the simplest of cooking. Beginning with a quality product means that you are already off to a great start. Dean & DeLuca’s Private Reserve Brandt Beef is my recommendation for those beef lovers looking for the ultimate steakhouse steak at home.
Brandt Beef, based in Brawley, California is a family-owned, natural beef producer. When looking for products that don’t just taste good but aren’t punishing the globe with intensive, unsustainable and potentially cruel farming methods, Brandt Beef leads the way – and any serious beef eater should follow.
Brandt cares about their cattle, raising them on an all-natural, vegetarian diet of corn, sudan and alfalfa grasses, which are grown by the Brandt family on their farm. Given this exceptional level of treatment, Brandt does not need to artificially enhance their product with hormones or antibiotics; you will taste the difference and your guests will thank you for it.
I met Eric Brandt and his young son at his home in San Diego, California. Eric is the son of William Brandt, the owner and co-founder of Brandt Beef. As managing partner of the family business, he embodies the “farm to fork” philosophy which is part of everything Brandt Beef does. Eric explained to me the importance of not only producing a superior quality beef for his customers but producing it in a responsible, humane way. For example, the Brandt fields are protected from mice and insects not by synthetic pesticides but by an owl. This is just one of the ways that Eric and his family are leaving a legacy future generations can be proud of.
Eric inspects and hand-stamps the Brandt Private Reserve Beef for Dean & DeLuca’s butcher shop daily. He sees the relationship between Brandt Beef, Dean & DeLuca and the customer as similar to that of an old-fashioned butcher, where the butcher sources and hand-selects the meat. The search for a purveyor who was as passionate and dedicated to fine, quality food as much as the Brandt family are, is what brought Dean & DeLuca to partner with them as their exclusive online retailer.
Eric believes in his responsibility to customers whether they are a top chef or home cook, to provide a quality, consistent product that is 100% traceable from the farm to the kitchen table. Along with the “field to fork” philosophy, Brandt Beef embraces a “tongue to tail” philosophy too, utilizing the entire animal instead of just the popular middle meats, ensuring nothing goes to waste. Eric hopes to encourage his customers to look beyond the basic cuts to the benefits of an environmentally sustainable menu. This is why when you browse through the selection at Dean & DeLuca, you will find the traditional classics but also ox tail, a key ingredient in rich soups and stews, and the Private Reserve Bavette Steaks, a long but thin cut. The bavette is perfect for quick methods of cooking by pan searing or grilling and when I mentioned it to Brandt, his eyes lit up and he confessed it was one of his favorite cuts. It’s one of mine too and I found it tender, juicy and full of flavor, seasoned with Dean & DeLuca’s Southwestern Rub in this simple and spicy steak taco recipe.
Bavette Steak Tacos
with Avocado, Mango & Poblano Chile and Roasted Tomato/Jalapeno Salsa
-3 6-oz Brandt Beef Bavette Steaks
-8 corn or flour tortillas
-2 tbsp Dean and Deluca Southwestern Rub
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-2 avocadoes, diced
-1 poblano chile, roasted and diced
-1 mango, diced
-½ medium red onion, finely diced
-2 tbsp cilantro chopped
-Juice of 1 lime
-Salt to season
1. Pre-heat grill to medium high heat.
2. Brush steaks with oil and coat with spice rub, set aside.
3. Brush tomatoes, jalapeno, poblano chile, green onion and garlic with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes each side or until charred and the garlic soft, remove and set aside.
4. Place steaks on grill and cook for 3 minutes per side turning twice (for approximately 10-12 minutes), remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
5. While the steaks are cooking, cut the garlic bulb in half horizontally and squeeze out the garlic, cut jalapeno in half and remove seeds and peel and dice poblano chile.
6. Place garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and jalapeno in blender and blend until chunky salsa, season with salt to taste.
7. In a medium sized bowl, mix avocado, poblano chile, red onion, mango, cilantro and lime juice together, season with salt to taste.
8. Place tortillas on grill to warm and slice steak across the grain horizontally.
9. To assemble, fill tacos with avocado, poblano and mango mix, place slices of steak on top and spoon salsa over steak.
10. Place on serving plate and garnish with crunchy radishes and grilled green onion.
Another favorite is the Private Reserve Boneless Rib Bye, a classic cut of meat where the aging and marbling of the steak is evident in both its moist tenderness and rich flavor. With flavor like this, there is no need to complicate things so I like to season it, sear on a hot grill to medium rare and serve with fresh seasonal vegetables and Dean & DeLuca’s Twice Baked Truffle Potatoes
a>. There’s no need for a sauce – the steak is so tender and moist that I like to top it with Truffle Porcini Butter. The butter mixes with the juices of the steak and creates a sauce right on your plate – perfect for easy, elegant summer entertaining!
Brandt Beef Rib Eye
with Truffle Porcini Butter and Grilled Endive and Twice Baked Truffle Potatoes
-4 Brandt Beef Rib Eye Steak
-4 Discs of Dean & Deluca Truffle Porcini Butter
-Box, Dean & DeLuca Twice Baked Truffle Potatoes
-4 heads endive, halved
-1 cup red and yellow grape tomatoes
- 2 lemons, halved
-1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place Dean & DeLuca Twice Baked Truffle Potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake in a pre heated oven at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated through.
2. Pre heat one half of gas grill to high and one side to medium high heat.
3. Brush steaks and Belgian endive with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and sprinkle endive with oregano.
4. Place steaks on high heat and grill on both sides until marked, about 2 minutes per side. Move steaks to medium heat, close grill lid and cook for a further 6 minutes on each side for medium rare.
5. Remove from grill and let rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Place endive and lemon halves cut side down and grill over medium heat.
7. Grill lemon on cut side and endive on both sides until marked.
8. Place tomatoes on grill and cook until marked.
9. To serve, place steaks on serving plate with twice baked truffle potatoes and grilled vegetables. Top each steak with a disc of porcini truffle butter and squeeze grilled lemon over endive to create the dressing.
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Diane Stopford attended the Faculty of Tourism and Food at the Dublin Institute of Technology where she graduated from the school’s BA in Culinary Arts. Upon her arrival to San Diego in 2003, Diane took a Food and Beverage Management position with a local resort and then went on to work as Culinary Operations Manager for hotelier and restaurateur Brett Miller. She then served as Executive Chef of the Group’s Cendio Restaurant in La Jolla, CA. In 2007, she joined Promark Productions as Managing Editor for InYourKitchen.com, an all-video food and cooking website. Diane is currently the culinary director for UpValley, a wine and food company specializing in hosting food and wine pairing events. She also consults for food and hospitality companies, teaches cooking classes and is a Kansas City Barbeque Society certified barbeque judge. In her free time, you can find Diane browsing the local farmers’ markets, attending Slow Food events and enjoying the laid back beach lifestyle.