The miracle of food always hits me this time of year: from what appears to be lifeless soil, spring vegetables push forth into the sun. Roaming the farmers’ markets, the produce seems to hang close to the soft, rain-drenched earth from which it emerges. Beets, radishes, sweet peas, spring onions, baby leeks, green garlic, and mushrooms—these delicate gems should be handled with care in order to bring out their earthiness.
Maitake, commonly known as “hen of the woods,” contain L-glutamate, which ignites the fifth sense and makes our tongues sing as it engages our taste receptors (Stamets). Complimented by fresh green garlic’s mild tang and Castelvetrano olives’ buttery crisp, the maitake in this relish shine against thin slices of skirt steak.
This recipe represents my approach to cooking: you should be able to indulge in the most delicious food while eating in a way that nourishes you. Recent cancer studies have shown maitake’s antitumor effects and immune building properties. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, maitake contain Beta 1,6-glucan and MZF, polysaccharides that help deter cancer tumor formation and increase antitumor response.
For the marinade:
1 pound of skirt steak
½ spring rosemary, washed and removed from the stem
1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste as you grill the steak
For the relish:
¼ cup green garlic, small diced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound fresh maitake mushrooms, torn into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup Castelvetrano olives, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar, to cool the pan after sautéing the mushrooms and garlic
salt, to taste
1. Allow the steak to marinate for 5-6 hours.
2. Pull the meat from the marinade and place it on a plate. Season it with salt and pepper.
3. While the grill heats up to medium-high heat, prepare the relish.*
4. Rub an oiled rag over the grill grates, and place the steak at on angle on the grill.
5. Grill the steak for about 5-7 minutes on each side, turning the meat often to ensure even cooking. The cooking time will depend on how thick the steak is. Aim for medium-rare.
6. Pull the steak from the grill, place it on a plate, and create a tent around it with aluminum foil. Allow the steak to rest for 8-10 minutes before you slice it.
7. Thinly slice the steak against the grain at an angle (cut on the bias).
8. Tangle the thin slices of skirt steak on a plate and spoon the maitake, Castelvetrano, and green garlic relish onto the slices. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the meat. You may want to drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil on the skirt steak as well.
Maitake, Castelvetrano, and Green Garlic Relish:
1. Heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, place a tablespoon of oil in the pan, quickly swirl it around, and add the torn maitake pieces. With a spatula, move the maitake pieces around the pan while they cook.
2. Once the maitake are wilted (which should take about 1 minute), turn the heat down to medium-low and after about 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the diced green garlic and red pepper. Add salt to taste and cook the green garlic until it is soft and just cooked through (it should not brown).
3. Deglaze the pan with the teaspoon of Balsamic vinegar
4. Add the Castelvetrano olives and black pepper.
5. Taste the relish, and adjust for salt and acidity as necessary.
"Maitake." Maitake. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.
Stamets, Paul. "Maitake: The Magnificent 'Dancing' Mushroom." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016.