Steak Salad

In the interesting of eating “Light” and “Simple” I made us steak salad last night.  Those who know how I cook know that I certainly could have made it simpler, but it was very tasty and light.  We enjoyed a 2009 Zynthesis Zinfandel made from old vines grown in Lodi.  It was very good with the salad.   The low acid and low tannin made it compatible with salad dressing and it worked well with the mushrooms, onion and steak.

Preheat oven to 450 (set on convection if you have that)

Ingredients (for 2):

1 steak, about 1 lb (should be about 1 ¼  “ thick)  – I used grass fed Rib Eye from Whole Foods

Butter lettuce (or any variety you prefer) – about ½ head, or 4 cups, rinsed and dried

1/3 Hothouse cucumber sliced

1 Heirloom tomato, cut into wedges

1 Avocado, sliced

1 Peach, sliced (not peeled)

1 tsp maple syrup

1/3 cup Pecans

1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced thickly (about 3 slices per mushroom)

¼ cup caramelized onions (see note below)

½ cup dressing (see below)


2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Cindy’s Red Pepper dressing

Juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup olive oil, and 2 tbsp for other cooking.

Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, 1 clove of garlic, cayenne to taste

Mix all dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Get all ingredients on counter, because once you start cooking, you will be working fast.  Rinse and dry the lettuce, and put in large bowl with sliced cucumber.

In a small non-stick pan, toast the pecans with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne (be careful when you add the cayenne – it will vaporize into the air and make you sneeze!).  Watch and toss constantly – they burn easily.  Turn pecans into a small bowl, and wipe out small pan.

Reheat pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp butter.  Saute sliced mushrooms (see note below about onions), and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Set aside, and rinse out pan.

Reheat pan and add one tsp olive oil, and when very hot, carefully add peach slices to pan.  Season with salt and pepper, and after one minute, turn over the slices and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add one tsp of maple syrup, swirl to coat, then turn out peach slices into small bowl and set aside.  If you are using pre-made caramelized onions (I always try to keep some in the freezer) heat them in the small pan and just turn off the heat and leave in the pan.  If you don’t have them, go back and cook some chopped onion with your mushrooms.

Plate:  Toss the lettuce and cucumber with about half the dressing.  Arrange tomato wedges, avocado slices and peaches around about 2/3 of the plate (leaving the other 1/3 for the steak).  Drizzle more dressing on the tomato and avocado.

Smash a clove of garlic and rub on both sides of steak, then season with salt & pepper.  Heat an oven-friendly fry pan to scorching hot (I used stainless steel for max heat – I don’t recommend non-stick for this).  Add 1 tbsp olive oil and carefully place steak in pan.  Do not move it for 3 minutes.  Turn and sear other side 3 minutes.  If the steak is thick, carefully turn and sear edges (try not to pierce the meat) for a few seconds each edge.  Place pan with steak in oven.  After 2 minutes, check with a meat thermometer – you are aiming for 135 to 140 degrees.  If not yet there, turn the steak and check every 2 minutes.  Mine took 5 minutes in the oven for medium rare.  Immediately remove steak from pan to plate or cutting board and tent with foil for 4-5 minutes (to set the juices and prevent “red” from running all over your salad).  Slice the steak into about ¼ “ thick slices and place over lettuce.  Add mushrooms and onions to top of steak.  Pour red wine.  Enjoy!!

P.S. you could use raw peaches, and untoasted pecans, and save a few steps here and there, and still enjoy.  🙂


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