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Steak Surprise at Sam's

Cauliflower is the star on this plate.

SAM IS ONE of those names that evokes warmth and familiarity. Sam could be your uncle, a beloved pet, a college dorm mate, or even your sister. The “Sam” of Sam’s Social Club, however, is a far more illustrious person — California’s first millionaire, Sam Brannan. Many things have changed since 1862 when Brannan first opened up what is now Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga, but what hasn’t changed is the luxurious yet approachable vibe the area exudes. Sam’s Social Club continues to live up to this spirit, serving reimagined American food, artisan cocktails and craft beer brewed on site, all at the base of Mount Lincoln. Leading the culinary efforts is chef Shaun McGrath, who began as executive sous chef at Sam’s Social Club in 2015. McGrath received his training at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, participating in two notable internships, the first at Le Languedoc Inn in Nantucket and the second at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. After completing his studies, McGrath went on to work in the kitchens of several highly regarded San Francisco restaurants, including Scott Howard, Michael Mina, Citizen Cake and Americano. Here he shares a recipe for arguably one of the healthiest steaks around, a cauliflower steak. samssocialclub.com

Cauliflower Steak

1¼ cups cashews
1 bunch scallions
1 jalapeño
3½ whole peeled shallots
1½ cloves garlic
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/3 cups water
4/5 cup fermented chile
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
½ cup canola oil
½ tablespoon salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
Handful of chopped oil-cured olives
1 small tomato, diced
Handful of chopped parsley
Handful of puffed farro
½ head organic cauliflower
Espelette chile powder, to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Handful of fresh dill to taste

To Prepare
For Charred Cashew Puree
1... Soak cashews in water overnight.
2... Char scallions, jalapeño, 2 shallots and 1 clove of garlic.
3... Combine cashews, scallions, jalapeño, tahini, sherry vinegar, water, shallots and garlic, and blend until you have a smooth puree.

For Hot Pepper Vinaigrette
1... Microplane ½ clove of garlic.
2... Mince 1½ whole shallots.
3... Combine fermented chile, Meyer lemon, canola oil, salt, cracked pepper, microplaned garlic and minced shallots and mix well.

For Garnish
1... Combine olives, tomato, parsley and puffed farro and mix well.

For Cauliflower
1... Deep-fry cauliflower at 350°F until brown and crunchy.
2... Remove from oil, pat dry with paper towel, and season with Espelette chile powder and kosher salt.

To Assemble
1... Warm plate.
2... Add a big smear of warm cashew puree across the plate.
3... Place the half-head of cauliflower in the center of plate.
4... Add a spoonful of the garnish to both sides of the cauliflower.
5... Top cauliflower with a couple spoonfuls of hot pepper vinaigrette and dill.

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