Some restaurant critics have decreed his restaurant as best in Orange County. But David Slay, chef-managing partner of Park Ave in Stanton, doesn’t let accolades go to his head. He keeps his focus, turning out delectable, thoughtful American cuisine day after day.
Many of his dishes showcase produce gathered from his highly productive vegetable gardens, which flourish just steps away from his restaurant. Scads of lettuce varieties and French Breakfast radishes. Super-fragrant Fino Verde basil with itty bitty leaves that mound like bouquets on the stem. Spherical yellow-skinned lemon cucumbers. Japanese purple onions.\
Slay’s at-home dish teams plump tomato wedges with blue-cheese dressing and pan-seared tri-tip steaks napped with a quick Dijon-spiked pan sauce.
TRI-TIP STEAK with Blue Cheese and Fresh Tomatoes
Yield: 4 servings
Blue Cheese Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Salt and ground white pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup canola oil
Tri-Tip and Pan Sauce:
- 1 tri-tip roast, trimmed of excess fat, cut crosswise into 6- to 7-ounce steaks
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided use
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup beef or veal stock
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 different tomatoes (preferably heirloom) cut into wedges
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cook’s notes: When Slay cuts the tri-tip into crosswise steaks, the small tip at the top of the triangle is removed, as well as any odds and ends left over from cutting the meat into perfect steaks that are about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inches thick. I often buy pre-cut tri-tip steaks at Costco.
1. For dressing: In medium bowl, combine vinegar, salt, pepper and dry mustard; stir until well combined and salt dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Refrigerate, well sealed. If too thick, add enough cold water to reach desired consistency. You will need 1 cup of dressing for this recipe.
2. Season meat on both sides with salt and cracked pepper.
3. In a heated cast iron skillet, on medium-high heat, add half of the butter (1 ounce). When butter just barely starts to brown, add seasoned meat and sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn with tongs and cook to desired temperature. Remove meat and place on plate.
4. Deglaze skillet with red wine, scraping up any browned bits; reduce to half in volume on medium-high heat. Add stock on reduce temperature to medium-low heat; simmer until reduced by about half. Stir in Dijon mustard and butter.
5. On one side of each plate, place a 1/4 cup dollop of blue cheese dressing. Arrange tomato wedges on top of dressing; season with pepper. Place meat next to tomatoes and spoon pan sauce over meat. Serve immediately.