Chef Tom – Tagliata

It’s summer. You have a heat wave. You want something hearty and filling, but fresh and seasonal. And you want a LOT of flavor. Ok, so you’re a normal, healthy person. Grab you favorite wine (this will be good with a big red, a fruity Zin, or a lovely crisp and complex Rose), some crusty bread, and someone you love to share your meal with, and have at it.

This is the time to splurge a bit on a good cut of meat. You can use a New York, a Ribeye, or as in this case, a Porterhouse. Dry aged would be wonderful. Go for grass fed if you like that. You’ll see how very simple this is and add it to your repertoire.

And what’s better than meat and potatoes! These Lemon-Roasted Potatoes were an amazing find. I love using Meyer lemons for the added aromatics, but Eureka’s work just as well. The key is to slice the onions and the lemons very thin, because as they roast under the potatoes, which have been generously drizzled with butter (or ghee), the onions and lemons turn into this incredible “jam.” So good.

We might still be a bit early for good heirloom tomatoes (September is when they really get going), but finding the most flavorful tomatoes you can is the best. And peaches. Go for the firm-ripe, non-mushy, nicely acidic, yellow clings if you can find them. Who knew that peaches and tomatoes loved each other so much. Both are fruits, both have a sweet acid, both are in season. Oh, and I figured out choosing tomatoes for their size (cherry’s) and color, too, to make it even more appealing.

This menu will score you many points with your loved ones, if that’s what you are into (you’re a normal, healthy person, right?).


Tagliata di Manzo
(Italian style grilled steak with arugula, lemon, and Parmesan)

Serves 6-8

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 large garlic cloves

2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 pound porterhouse steak (about 1 1/2 inches thick)

5 cups loosely packed arugula

2 oz. wedge of Parmesan cheese

1 whole lemon, wedged

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

Finely mince the garlic and mix with oil, fresh rosemary and black pepper.

Dry brine the steak: Pat steak dry with paper towels. Rub salt and black pepper on top. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill steaks to desired doneness, about 9 minutes per side for medium-rare. Just before taking the steak off the grill brush it with the olive oil, garlic and rosemary infusion on both sides. Cook for 15 seconds. Transfer steaks to cutting board. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut steaks on slight angle into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Arrange arugula on platter. Top with steak slices. Pour any accumulated juices over steaks; sprinkle with a bit more salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over steaks. Using vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan into strips over steaks. Serve with lemon wedges. Drizzle with a good quality balsamic ‘Tradizionale di Modena’ vinegar.

CHEF NOTE: In the photo you can see that the steak sits in a pool of pesto. I cheated a little and found some yummy arugula pesto (rocket). The traditional way to serve is with the fresh arugula. Both versions are deelish.

Lemon-Roasted Potatoes

Lemon-Roasted Potatoes

Serves 6-8

8 medium Yukon Gold (or other waxy) potatoes

2 large yellow onions

2 ripe lemons, preferably Meyer

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425°F

Set a stovetop steamer over medium heat. Add the potatoes. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and steam the potatoes until firm-tender when pierced with a cake tester, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve the onions through the root end so that there is a piece of core at the end of both halves holding the layers together.

Cut off a small slice at one end of each lemon so that you just expose the inner fruit. Use a mandolin or sharp chef’s knife to thinly slice the onion and lemons (thinner the better), discarding the uncut end of the lemon, any seeds, and onion cores when you are done. Mix them together with your hands in a medium bowl and season with salt to taste.

Once the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a large plate to cool slightly and then use a paring knife to peel off the skins and discard. Cut each potato in half.

Put the olive oil in a heavy roasting pan and rub it around the inside of the pan to coat it thoroughly. Layer the onions and lemons in the bottom of the dish. Lay the potatoes cut side down on top of them. Melt the butter and drizzle over each potato.

Bake for 25 minutes. Rotate the dish and bake until the potatoes are a deep golden brown, about 10 more minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven and scatter the rosemary over the potatoes. The residual heat will bring out the oils in the rosemary, perfuming the entire dish. Let the dish rest for 5 minutes before serving so that the herb can permeate the dish. Serve from the roasting pan so the potatoes will remain crisp.


Peach and Tomato Salad

Serves 4-6

4 large tomatoes, cut in wedges

1 pint cherry tomatoes (some halved, some left whole)

4 large firm-ripe peaches, pitted and wedged

1 medium red onion. Halved and thinly sliced

1/4 cup (Meyer) lemon juice

1/4 cup Olive oil

Ground pepper to taste

Choose a variety of flavorful heirloom tomatoes. The more colors the better.

Thinly slice the onion and place in an ice bath for 30 minutes to crisp and decrease acid.

Pit and slice the peaches into 1/2-inch wedges.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, peaches and onions. Mix lemon juice and olive oil and toss with tomato-peach mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt.

Cover and set aside, at room temperature, for one hour.


Chef Tom is currently Resident Chef for a small tech firm in San Francisco. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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