Steak salads for the long weekend

If anyone reading is also a CSA-subscriber, you know how much salad needs to be consumed this month to avoid a total fridge-takeover. I thought I’d post two versions of steak salad that I’ve made in the last month or so, as possible alternatives if you’re not feeling the burgers for Saturday.

Option One: Asian flavors

I generally avoid Rachael Ray (that voice), but I saw a tip once on her show about storing ginger, already peeled and ready to grate, in the freezer. Seemed smart, and when I decided to make a ginger marinade for the last of the Gift Steaks I gave it a shot.

Frozen ginger is really, really hard. I used a small grater, and the shavings were practically dust, which actually was brilliant in salad dressing since there were no chunks of ginger–it sort of dissolved into the dressing. For the marinade I could have used a bit more heft to the gratings. The other good thing, though, is that the strings in the ginger grate nicely when it is frozen, so you don’t have quite the same fiber struggle to contend with.

Anyway, I grated a lot of ginger into a bowl with soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, some sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and a bit of chili paste, and marinated the steak in that.

While the meat was marinating, I shaved a head of kohlrabi and a couple radishes into a similar dressing, but with some rice vinegar, no ginger, and a bit less soy.

Finally, I made a third version of the dressing with lots of the ginger and no soy sauce, just rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, peanut oil, etc. I used that to dress a huge salad, then topped it with the kohlrabi/radishes and the grilled, sliced steak:

steak salad

Option Two: Mom’s marinade
This week we were hosting Ben’s uncle for a couple days, and there was a providential break in the weather for just long enough to eat out on the porch!! I marinated flank steak using a recipe from my mom, and served it with the german-style potato salad I made a few times last year.

Rosemary-Mustard Flank Steak Marinade for 3 lbs. flank steak
From the White Dog Café Cookbook, via Kate’s mom

(K’s Mom: “I usually halve this recipe for a 1.5 lb. flank steak; plenty to feed 4-6.” I made the whole thing and froze half, see below. Also, Mom says that while the soy seems odd with these ingredients, it’s just adding umami and you don’t taste it in the end. She’s right.)

¼ Cup Dijon Mustard
2 shallots, chopped
½ Jalapeno pepper, seeded (I used chili paste, Mom uses red pepper flakes.)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ Cup olive oil

* Combine mustard, shallots, jalapeno, rosemary, soy sauce, and pepper in a food processor.
* Blend to a smooth paste, about 1 minute.
* With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil to form a thick emulsion.
(Note: this marinade can be made up to a week ahead & refrigerated.)
* Rub the meat with the marinade and place in a shallow baking dish.
* Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. (I only had about 6-7 hours and while the result was good, it would have been better with overnight marinating!) The texture of flank steak benefits from long marinating.
* Grill or broil the steak until medium-rare, about 5 minutes on a side.
* Let rest 5 minutes before cutting on the bias and serving.

I used the little mini-prep attachment for my stick blender, which worked great, though I had to add the oil in batches instead of trickling it in.

Here is half the marinade doing its thing, while the other half prepares to go in the freezer for next time! Now the marinating-a-day-in-advance thing will be super easy.

Closer to dinner time, I cut up new potatoes and boiled them until they were tender but not crumbling.

I drained them and put them back in the pot, covered, to rest for a few minutes, then mixed them with a cider vinegar/olive oil dressing. In the dressing I mashed up a couple cloves of garlic that I’d boiled with the potatoes.

In the past, like an idiot, I’d boiled the potatoes whole and then cut them up while they were hot. Ouch. This worked way better; you do want to get the potatoes into the dressing hot so they soak it in better. Do this a little while (at least 30 minutes) before you eat, and keep stirring/tasting the potatoes, letting them all get a chance to soak up dressing. You’ll need to adjust the dressing and the seasoning to taste.

I’ve also been on a crouton kick lately, tearing up ciabatta and rubbing it into olive oil and salt, then baking it. I over-baked them this time but they are still so easy and SO delicious, especially if they are a little soft/chewy inside.

We had the salad and croutons under the steak, so the croutons got hit with the dressing and the steak juices, and had the potatoes on the side. Delicious and simple.

I hope you all have lovely long weekends! This charming little guy joins me in wishing you well:

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