Chef Suzanne Goin has two successful restaurants in Los Angeles, and her commitment to cooking with only the finest ingredients is evident at both of them. At A.O.C., Chef Goin marinates Niman Ranch’s tri tip in a rosemary-and-pepper mixture, grills it, and then serves it with an olive aïoli. The tri tip steak is cut from the bottom of the sirloin and is popular on the West Coast. You might find it sold under other names, such as bottom sirloin roast, in your market. Like the flank and bavette, it’s a cut suited to marinating or rubbing and then grilling.—Bill Niman and Janet Fletcher
For the aïoli
1 small clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 egg yolks
1 cup olive oil
For the steak
One 2 1/2 pounds tri tip steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped pitted oil-cured black olives
1 cup aïoli
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Make the aïoli by hand
1. To make by hand, chop the garlic and salt together on a cutting board until a paste forms. Transfer to a deep mixing bowl and wrap a damp towel around the base of the bowl to keep it from sliding around the counter as you work. Whisk in the mustard, lemon juice, and egg yolks. While whisking continuously and vigorously, add the olive oil in a slow, thin, steady stream until all of it has been incorporated and the mixture is thick and completely emulsified.
Make the aïoli in a food processor
1. Place the garlic and salt in the work bowl and process to chop as finely as possible. Add the mustard and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Add the egg yolks and, with the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, thin, steady stream until all of it has been incorporated and the mixture is thick and completely emulsified.
2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours until needed.
Make the steak
1. Place the steak in a small, nonreactive baking dish. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir well. Rub the mixture evenly over the tri tip. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
2. Remove the tri tip from the refrigerator 1 1/2 hours before cooking.
3. Prepare and light a charcoal grill for direct cooking. Add the olives to the aïoli and season with cayenne. When the grill is at its hottest (when the coals are red and glowing and too hot to hold your hand over the grill for more than a couple of seconds), remove the tri tip from the marinade, wipe off any excess marinade, and season on both sides with sea salt. Place the steak on the cooking grate directly over the coals, cover the grill, and cook, turning once, for about 20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 130°F (55°C) for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Cut the tri tip into thin slices across the grain and arrange on a platter. Serve with the aïoli.
Recipe © 2005 by Bill Niman and Janet Fletcher. All rights reserved.