I realize it has been mighty quiet around The Dinner Dilemma lately, and I apologize for that. It is not because I haven’t had great food to write about, it’s just that I felt written out. I needed to take a little break. And so, I did. And, it was a good break; but now I’m back at my keyboard pounding away again and very happy to be doing so. I’ve missed you! And, I’ve got several weeks worth of yummy things to tell you about. Though I wasn’t writing, I was cooking, researching and playing in the kitchen- and I will happily share the bounty of those play days with you.
But first, let’s talk about the weather. In New York, it has finally turned. Spring is coming- of this I am sure. The snow has finally melted away leaving a muddy, brown and tan wasteland. Ugly, yes, but I’ll take it! Snow Bells are blooming, crocuses are popping up, and I can see a good 4-5 inches of tulip stems poking through the mud. Hurray! And so, because I am incapable of not thinking ahead, my thoughts turn (albeit longingly) to summer food.
In the summer- well, honestly, all the time- I crave good salads. I admit that I have a “favorite” year round salad- one that I make almost every night. At this point in the year, after a brutal winter with little veggie innovation, I am bored of my “go to” baby romaine with tomatoes, Parmesan, red onion, craisins, yellow pepper all dressed with a lemon juice vinaigrette. So, now that the ice has melted away and spring is clearly going to arrive, it is the perfect time for me to shake the salad box up and see what fabulous things can be done in lieu of the tried and true!
I came upon a recipe in Fine Cooking for a steak salad and it stuck with me. In fact, it haunted me. I found myself thinking about the recipe over and over again. It had to be tried. There were, of course, little tweaks to be made. But, for the first go around, I made it pretty much as written. It was a home run-in fact, a grand slam. Rarely does a salad recipe leave me weak. This one does. I find myself thinking for reasons to serve it- I could have so and so and such and such for lunch….I could have it as a starter for dinner on X night…and so on. This salad is so good that Julia has asked for it for breakfast, lunch and dinner….sadly, after dinner, there was none left for the breakfast and lunch, but it’s the thought that counts.
So, on that note, I am back. Hopefully with a bang! Happy March all- remember, in like a lion, out like a lamb!
Thai Inspired Steak Salad
Adapted from Fine Cooking
For the Steak and Asparagus
½ T black peppercorns
1 t coriander seed
1 t fennel seed
1 lbs. thick-cut New York strip steak
2 T olive oil
1 lbs thick asparagus, tough ends removed
Freshly ground pepper
For the Vinaigrette
3 T chicken broth, more as needed
2 ½ T hoisin sauce
2 T olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 ½ t soy sauce
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t minced garlic
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
4 cups baby romaine, or any other baby greens
1 large mango, peeled and slivered into thin wedges
½ small red onion, thinly sliced and soaked briefly in ice water
4-6 radishes, thinly sliced
1. Prepare the steak and asparagus. Put the peppercorns, coriander, fennel and ½ t salt in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Coat the steak with 1 T of the olive oil and then the peppercorn/spice mixture. Set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 1½ hours.
2. Toss the asparagus with the remaining 1 T of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Make the vinaigrette in a blender. Combine all the ingredients and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix, adding more broth if necessary to achieve a silky consistency.
4. Grill the steak and asparagus. Prepare a grill to a high heat. Grill the steak for 5 minutes, flip and cook the steak on the second side until rare- about 4 minutes. Remove the steak from the grill and put on a cutting board. Tent with foil to keep warm. Let the meat rest.
5. Place the asparagus on the grill and cook, turning a couple of times, until crisp tender- about 5 minutes.
6. Assemble the salad by arranging the asparagus, baby greens, mango on a platter. Thinly slice the steak and arrange over the salad. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and garnish with the red onion and radishes.