Grilled Steak with Summer Tomato Salad

This steak salad is built, literally and figuratively, on layers of flavor and texture. The grilled meat sits atop a wet and messy salad of summer tomatoes (aren't they just glorious? this salad really shows them off), avocado and lettuce that wilts, just slightly, in an onion-bacon-poblano vinaigrette. It all just works, so well, SO WELL, together.

For seasonal eaters, August is a month of unapologetic gluttony.

In August, a morning walk to the garden yields a basket overflowing with tomatoes, cucumber, onions and okra. A weekly trip to the farmers market means discovering green beans, sweet corn, eggplant, blackberries and sticky figs. Even the grocery store has faux farmstands laden with the most plentiful local vegetables and fruits: here in St. Louis that means tomatoes, zucchini, sweet corn, peaches and melons.

In August, we eat with the abandon of plenty: just-picked vegetables raw and cooked, sandwiched and stewed and souped; just-ripe fruit eaten over the sink to catch the juices, or sliver by sliver, all to savor the season’s natural sweetness.

In August, we become ‘salt and pepper cooks’ for freshness requires little seasoning to extract the life within. In August, no meal, including breakfast, is complete without at least a slice of the perfection that is a summer tomato.

In August, we set aside all-things-chocolate for peach cobbler and blueberry pie and fruity soups. We forgo crème brulee when there are cherries and grapes and apricots and plums.

In August, we … but wait, tell me, what is “August food” for you? What are you eating now? What is essential to August?

What a hearty, meaty salad this is, a real meal versus a light supper. With a few moving parts, it’s a bit of a production but make it once and you’ll make it again almost without thinking, purposefully moving from one step to the next. It’s makes for a companionable Cooking for Two project but can also be made completely ahead, then assembled at the last minute, just before serving. I’ve made it for two, I’ve made it for ten, it’s that flexible, that good.

ALANNA’s TIPS No beef stock on hand? Build a quick stovetop stock by browning an ounce of the meat, a little onion and garlic in a small skillet, then adding water to deglaze the pan. Other ideas: substitute red wine for beef stock or use the steak’s marinade, just be sure to let boil for 2 – 3 minutes since the marinade contains raw meat juice. The inspiring recipe calls for frisee, escarole or spinach but I’m hooked on the déclassé iceberg! It has a crisp wetness that really works. For cheese, we’ve fallen in love with an aged cheese from Mexico called cotija [pronounced ko-TEE-hah] that is tangy and salty. The best substitute would be crumbled Romano or Parmesan. For the salad to work, it needs to be wet and messy, not perfect and composed, so be sure work the warm vinaigrette into the Tomato Salad. When aesthetics are important, garnish the top with slices of tomato and avocado. This salad works beautifully with leftover grilled steak too.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. Join Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

GRILLED STEAK with
SUMMER TOMATO SALAD

Hands-on time: 1 hour
Time to table: 1 hour
Serves 4
    GRILLED STEAK
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 pound beef steak – ribeye, skirt steak, any good cut
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    WARM VINAIGRETTE
  • 1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and chopped (what is a poblano pepper? how to roast peppers)
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 red onion, chopped small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup beef stock (see TIPS)
  • Juice of 4 small limes (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    TOMATO SALAD
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce (see TIPS), sliced thin
  • 1 – 2 large perfect summer tomatoes, chopped (see TIPS)
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese, cotija, Romano or Parmesan (see TIPS)
  • Cooked bacon
    OPTIONAL GARNISH
  • Thin slices of lime
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn tortillas, cut into strips and crisped in a little oil in a skillet

GRILLED STEAK In a large flat container, mix the red wine vinegar, Worcestershire and red wine; add the meat and marinate for up to 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (Make the Warm Vinaigrette and Tomato Salad before continuing.) Lift the meat out of the marinade (if you like, save the marinade for the Warm Vinaigrette, see TIPS), season to taste and grill to the desired doneness. On the cross-grain, cut into strips.

WARM VINAIGRETTE While the meat marinates, roast the poblano. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels to use in the Tomato Salad, then sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining bacon grease. Add the beef stock, using a spatula to grab the crispy bits off the bottom (this is called ‘deglazing’ the pan’ and is an essential step for developing flavor). Add the roasted poblano, lime juice and salt and pepper and let simmer until slightly thick. Turn off the heat and let rest until ready to serve. Can be made ahead, just rewarm before tossing into the Tomato Salad.

TOMATO SALAD Meanwhile, in a large bowl, layer the lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese and bacon.

SERVE & SAVOR (Grill the steak before continuing.) If needed, rewarm the vinaigrette, then toss well with the Tomato Salad, wilting the lettuce and wetting the entire mixture. Transfer the salad to individual plates, top with meat slices, garnish as desired. Dig in, devour!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Grilled Steak Salad? How many Weight Watchers points in Grilled Steak Salad?) Per Serving: 357 Calories; 16g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 86mg Cholesterol; 258mg Sodium; 18g Carb; 6g Fiber; 8g Sugar; 31g Protein; Weight Watchers 8 points
Inspired by a recipe from The Art of Mexican Cooking by Diana Kennedy Product Disclosure

Prepping the Summer Tomato Salad


Grilled Steak with Summer Tomato Salad

Don't be tempted to compose a perfect-looking salad directly on the dinner plates, a slice of tomato here, a sliver of avocado there. Instead, combine all the salad ingredients in a big bowl first, then transfer to serving plates. Yes, it's a little wet and messy but it builds the perfect texture and taste.


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Yum, Alanna! Our August gluttony has been consisting of fresh Missouri peaches and zucchini. And then there's the vine-ripe tomatoes and the... do I really need to go on? ;)
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna