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Makes 2 servings

For the steak:

1 tablespoon cocoa nibs

1 teaspoon ground coffee

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½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1 tablespoon toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon salt

12 ounces flank steak

1. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the cocoa nibs, coffee, chili powder and pepitas until a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil and salt. Rub the spice mixture over all the steak, then set it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours or up to overnight.

2. When ready to cook, heat a skillet to medium-high. When the pan is hot, coat it with cooking spray and add the steak. Sear for three minutes per side, or until cooked to desired doneness. Allow to rest for five to 10 minutes, then thinly slice.

For the polenta:

2 ounces food-grade cocoa butter (sold as chunks at natural foods shops)

¼ cup chopped shallots

1½ cups milk

3 cup cornmeal polenta (not instant)

1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram

3 cup chopped dates

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the cocoa butter. Add the shallots and cook until tender, six to eight minutes. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. While whisking, pour the polenta in a thin stream into the simmering milk. Stir in the marjoram and the dates. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and the polenta is tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Alison Ladman, The Associated Press

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