Steak Salad

September 11, 2017

It’s impossible to post without thinking of everyone Mexico, Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean Islands.

If you can help any of these folks, in however small a way, please do.

To donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey, here is a list of charities from the New York Times.

To help people impacted by Irma, here is a list of charities from the Miami Herald.

Here is another helpful list of places to donate, including ways to help Mexican earthquake victims, courtesy of Axios.com.

Confession: I am not a lover of salads. By this I mean the green leafy sort. Admitting to such a preference borders on heresy these days, but there you are.

Another confession: While I enjoy Italian food, I am not passionate about it. Understand, I would never refuse a plate of lasagne or refuse an offer of ravioli. But the love that drove Bill Buford to don an apron and sweat in Mario Batali’s kitchens? A noble pursuit, but not one I’d subject myself to, personally.

Now, if the subject were Vietnamese food, that would be another story. But the chances of my throwing everything over to go cook in Southeast Asia are nil. I mean, there are some seriously mitigating circumstances in play.

Returning to our regularly scheduled post…

Steak salad is a riff on Steak with Arugula with Lemon and Parmesan, from A New Way To Dinner. It’s also a way to like salads, if, like me, a plate of raw veg is not your thing.

Why do I like this when most vegetable salads leave me cold?

I’ll explain. First you dress the greens with lemon juice and olive oil. Then you set the warm steak atop this. The entire plate is garnished with curls of parmesan, which melt, ever so slightly. Meanwhile, the meat juices mingle with the olive oil and lemon, creating a perfect dressing: salty, tangy, minerally. Use a mix of bitter greens and romaine, and you achieve the ultimate combination of wilt and crunch.

Steak salad is best served warm rather than hot. That it has a few ingredients, requires minimal cooking, and keeps well (if you can avoid scarfing it in one sitting) only adds to the appeal.

Steak Salad

Adapted from A New Way To Dinner, by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

serves 2 people; easily scaled upward

prep time: about 10 minutes

1-2 pounds flank steak

olive oil

a splash of decent red wine (drinkable, but don’t use your finest Barolo)

salt and pepper

2-3 lemons, quartered

your favorite salad greens–mesclun, arugula, romaine, etc

a hunk of Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

1-2 cloves garlic (optional, for garlic lovers)

Instructions

You will need a cast iron pan, grill, or heavy pan to make this dish. I don’t give grilling instructions because I don’t have a grill. If you do, by all means, go ahead and use it.

Presalting the meat: optional but ideal:

1-24 hours ahead of time, place your steak in a ceramic or glass baking dish and salt, using about 1 teaspoon salt per pound of meat. Lightly pepper as well, if desired. Cover steak with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until an hour before cooking time.

About one hour before cooking, remove meat from refrigerator.

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Place a well-seasoned cast iron pan, grill, or heavy pan on the stove. Oil lightly if necessary with olive oil. Heat pan over medium heat. Add a slug of red wine, taking care not to spatter your favorite shirt.

Add the steak and garlic, if using. Turn heat up slightly and allow steak to color nicely, about three minutes. Turn and cook on other side, another three minutes.

Using oven mitts, carefully place the pan in oven so steak can finish cooking. Depending on size of steak, your oven, and personal preference, cooking will take 5-10 ten minutes. Remember that meat continues cooking off heat, so take care not to overcook, unless you like your steaks resembling shoe leather.

Check for doneness at 5 minute mark, removing from oven and making a small test slice if necessary. If meat is cooked to your liking, or even slightly undercooked, remove from oven and tent with foil. Allow meat to stand while you finish the salad.

Scatter the salad leaves on a platter. Dress lightly with olive oil, then add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Returning to the beef, slice it very thinly, taking care to corral the tasty juices. Lay the slices over the leaves, spooning the cooking juices over the platter. (Don’t forget the garlic clove!) Shave some parmesan over all. Taste for salt–the dish is salty and may not need more.  Serve immediately.

Steak salad is perfection all by itself, but at this time of year–early fall–a few sliced tomatoes only gild the lily, as does some good bread to soak up those delicious juices.

Leftovers: while you could freeze the flank steak, it would lose its fresh flavor. Instead, refrigerate any leftovers with plans to finish them over the next three or four days. This should prove no hardship. While the salad leaves do get wilty, they still taste good, so work around the wilt factor by using them to line sandwiches.

Notes: In their recipe, Hesser and Stubbs call for T-bone steaks while noting cheaper cuts like flank and strip steak also work well provided you slice them thinly. I use flank steak, and it is delicious.

I have used both Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses successfully here. Buy the real thing, not the burnt rubber leavings sold in cardboard cans. Life is too short to eat that stuff. Whatever it is.

The tomatoes were miffed to learn they didn’t appear in the post. So last but hardly least, organic Early Girls.

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Filed under: Beef and Pork, Salads