Thursday, August 12, 2010

Steak Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette

For a quick and yummy weeknight dinner, I made this beautiful dinner salad in under 20 minutes. I actually had leftover steak, but not enough for a meal - so I heated it up and sliced into thin strips and then divided among our two plates. Leftover beef fajitas would work really well here - any cut of leftover beef could be used.

What makes this salad work is the herby and flavorful dressing on the steak. I was fortunate to find some great products in my pantry but be bold and use substitutions in your own recipe. For this vinaigrette I needed a vinegar, an oil, an onion/shallot and an herb. I chose a roasted garlic grapeseed oil from Cambria winery, a champagne vinegar from B.R. Cohn winery, a shallot and a handful of fresh cilantro.

Using my Cuisinart blender I chopped the shallot and a handful of cilantro and with the motor running I poured in two tablespoons of garlic grapeseed oil and two tablespoons of champagne vinegar.

Taste and adjust your proportions to your liking. Maybe you want more vinegar, maybe it needs a squeeze of lemon or a clove of garlic or a dash of salt and pepper. Make the dressing first, and then set it aside in the fridge while you throw the rest of the dinner salad together.  This reminds me of the time I made chimichurri sauce, but I like the bright tang of this concoction better.

To complete the meal, I used a mix of baby spinach and spring lettuce and lightly tossed the greens in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Then topped the dressed greens with my warm sliced steak, sprinkled with feta cheese crumbles and spooned my vinaigrette over the meat. Slice an avocado and serve on the side of the plate. If you have candied pecans or toasted pine nuts, those would be great on this salad.  Dinner is served (in 20 minutes from start to finish.)

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