This installment of Salad Days of Summer is a recipe for your dinner repertoire.
Steak salads make for a fresh and substantial bowl that you can call a meal. I call it a leftovers salad — it was, in fact, composed of leftover steak and green beans when it was prepared — but “grilled steak salad” sounds more enticing.
If you don’t happen to have cold steak and cooked beans lurking in your refrigerator, you can easily make this recipe from scratch. However, I believe that if you go to the trouble of paying for and grilling a nice piece of steak, you should enjoy it hot off the grill. I suggest purchasing a little extra so that you can have your grilled steak dinner — and then the wonderful “problem” of leftovers to make this salad.
This recipe includes methods for both grilling the steak and cooking fresh beans, should you decide to concoct the salad from scratch. Note that French haricots verts may be used for the green beans. Haricots verts are thinner than the Blue Lake variety we simply call green beans. Their flavor is slightly sweeter and more delicate, and they will cook faster, since they are so fine.
Avocado is another optional ingredient.
A bright balsamic vinaigrette does double duty as a dressing that binds the salad and a quick marinade for the meat.
And feel free to have fun with fresh herbs. Basil is added to this salad; tarragon, chervil and chives would also make nice additions.
Grilled Steak and Green Bean Salad
Yield: Serves 3 to 4
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a press
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 New York strip steak, about 12 ounces (purchase more if you want your steak dinner first)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed, torn into large pieces
- 4 to 6 Early Girl tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 avocado, cut in bite-size pieces (optional)
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup small basil leaves, torn (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves)
1. Whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking to emulsify.
2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat. Lightly brush the steak with oil and season on all sides with the salt and pepper. Grill the steak until medium-rare, about 8 minutes, depending on thickness, turning once or twice. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the steak across the grain in 1/4-inch slices. Place the meat in a bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and turn to coat.
4. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, steam the beans.) Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Blot dry with a kitchen towel.
5. Layer the lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, avocado (if using), onion and basil in a serving bowl. Remove the steak from the marinade and arrange over the salad. Drizzle with the dressing to your taste and gently toss.
Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food and wine writer, cookbook author and recipe developer. She authors the blog TasteFood, a compilation of more than 600 original recipes, photos and stories. More recipes can be found at chicago.suntimes.com/taste.