holidays & recipes: an ancient holiday dinner seared beef with lemon herb creme fraiche
Let the countdown begin. It is December 7th and with Christmas 17 days away thoughts of holiday foods swirl in our heads. Who-pudding and roast beast; sugar plums, roast geese. We may not be able to share recipes for these foods from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Twas the Night Before Christmas and Scrooge, but we can help you prepare for your Christmas feast.
Over the next 17 days we will maintain our regularly scheduled posts: Tartlicious Tuesdays, Worldly Wednesdays and Fudofinds Fridays. However, on the other days we will bring to you the recipes to create three separate Christmas menus. Our first menu brings the ancient world to our tables for a winter feast.
In the book The Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan you will find menus for various occasions. We loved the winter buffet menu, but shortened by omitting two of the meat dishes so that it is manageable and carefree. While this menu wasn’t necessarily one that the ancient Greeks or Romans prepared during their winter holidays, these foods are a perfectly suited for your holiday celebration. You will find the ingredients seasonally appropriate and fairly inexpensive. This menu is light, yet satisfyingly rich in flavor.
An Ancient Holiday Dinner
Let’s begin with the seared beef with lemon-herb crème fraiche. The original recipe calls for sirloin, but in the spirit of frugality and ancient resourcefulness we used a portion of a beautiful London broil that we happened to have on hand. If you have a thick cut of beef follow the recipe, sear the beef and finish it in the oven. This recipe is very easy to double.
Seared Beef with Lemon-Herb Crème Fraiche
4 tsp McCormick dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs Bertolli extra-virgin olive oil
1 boneless sirloin about 1 ½ lbs
Salt and pepper
½ cup crème fraiche
1 tbs whole milk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Combine 3 tsp of oregano, garlic and oil in a small bowl. Season the beef with salt and pepper and firmly press oregano mixture on both sides. Set aside while you make the sauce.
2. Mix the crème fraiche, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining tsp of oregano and ½ tsp salt in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Head a non-stick skillet over medium –high heat. Sear the meat until cooked to the desired doneness, remove from skillet and let rest for 10 minutes. (If you have a thicker cut of beef sear for about 4 minutes on each side and finish in the oven. When beef is done remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
4. To assemble, slice meat into thin slices. Slice the foccacia into 1 inch this slices. Spread crème fraiche mixture on focaccia and top with a slice of steak. Serve immediately.
Entertaining Tip: Making your guests comfortable is important. And, while you cannot cater to each guest’s personal tastes you can make it easy for them to enjoy a meal to their liking. For this recipe we suggest that step #4 be optional. You can serve the beef on a platter separately from the foccacia and crème fraiche mixture which will allow your guests to either eat it as step 4 indicates, or in a manner to their liking as some may prefer to omit the crème fraiche mixture or some may not want the foccacia.