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. Here’s a recipe for arguably one of the healthiest steaks around, a cauliflower steak.
1¼ cups cashews
1 bunch scallions
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 chili powder, to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Handful of fresh dill to taste
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.
1. Combine olives, tomato, parsley, and puffed farro and mix well.
1. Deep-fry cauliflower at 350°F until brown and crunchy.
2. Remove from oil, pat dry with paper towel, and season with Espelette chili powder and kosher salt.
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.
This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Steak Surprise at Sam’s”.