No. 99: Big Steak Salad

Sunday brought warm weather and sunny skies to Northern California. It was the perfect day to do some spring cleaning and sprucing.

Our patio is pretty bleak, lots of concrete and rock with a green grassy side yard that you can't see from our main area. One of my top priorities this weekend was to add some color. While out and about, I found these lovely hanging baskets.

Color

They are already cheering up the place! I'm also going to plant some golden poppy seed bombs that my terrific colleague gave me. Photos to come once the yard is all ready for entertaining.

Since we'd be outside anyway, we figured some grilling would also be a fun way to get a bit of weeknight cooking out of the way. We had a few steaks ready to go.

Steak Salad

The Pioneer Woman knows what I like. She always has the best combinations of healthy (girlie) and meaty (manly) elements.

Most are familiar with her site and stories, but if you haven't been in a while, check it out. She serves up family sized comfort food and gets it right every time. To this day, her short ribs are one of my favorite meals for entertaining friends.

Her big steak salad is a prime example of what I love most. Cowboy and cowgirl food coming together in harmony. And it's the perfect big salad for a hefty Sunday lunch for my Marlboro Man.

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 whole Rib-eye Or Strip steak

Marinade
3/4 cups canola oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger*
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil*
1 teaspoon salt
Lots of fresh ground black pepper

*We subbed a tablespoon of ginger paste and teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Onion strings*
1 onion, sliced as thin as possible
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 quart canola oil
Black pepper to taste

*We skipped the onion strings but made all the other elements

Candied pecans
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

Salad
Lettuce mix: Romaine, Arugula, Watercress, Raddiccio combined in the amounts you prefer
Grape tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup dried cranberries

To make

Begin with the dressing/marinade, combine all ingredients in a mason jar with the lid. Shake vigorously to combine; taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Marinade

Place steak in a plastic zipper bag. Pour in half the marinade and seal. Refrigerate and marinate for at least two hours.

Prepare the onion strings. Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with buttermilk and soak for at least an hour.

Make the candied pecans. Spread pecans on a baking mat or sheet of waxed paper. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Cook to 280 degrees, or until dark and clear amber in color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour mixture over pecans (you may not need all of mixture) and quickly stir/poke with a fork to evenly distribute mixture all over pecans. Allow to cool completely.

Make the onion strings. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess, and plunge into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove to a paper towel-lined plate as soon as they are golden brown. Repeat until onions are gone.

Grill steak over medium-high heat until medium rare. Remove from heat and allow to rest. Slice steak against the grain in thin slices.

Steak

(Lots of steak for eating throughout the week.)

In a large bowl, add lettuce mix, blue cheese, and cherry tomatoes.

Ready to mix

Add a little dressing and toss to combine. Add more if needed. Add candied pecans at the end and toss to combine.

Heap salad on a plate, making sure to get plenty of blue cheese, tomatoes, and pecans on each plate. Add half a steak to the top of each plate, then top the steak with onion strings. Serve immediately.

The results

This is a hearty, filling salad. We had it for a late lunch and weren't hungry again for a good long while.

Final

These are classic flavor combinations that never get old, but the standout was the marinade. Way more complex in flavor than a classic balsamic.

While the marinade was great for steak, I'd adjust it before using as a dressing. Less soy sauce and replacing canola oil with olive oil would make me like it more on the greens.

Be ready for a week of steak recipes! We've got plenty on hand.

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com