Warm Grilled Steak & Gorgonzola Salad

by Kelly on May 13, 2011   

Warm beef on top of salad greens with a hint of gorgonzola -- ahh, summer

Finally dusted off the grill, and snapped back to attention here at Kitchenelly. My band, Border Radio, got very busy over the last month or so and I’ve been AWOL! We took a trip up to Northern California for some shows, recorded 5 new songs, taped a bunch of video, went down to San Diego, and wrote a few more tunes.

Singing with the band in San Diego at the Adams Avenue Roots Festival

But I’m back at the helm here, with a serious craving to get the grill going for some BEEF. That combined with a craving for tender salad after a wet winter filled with the super dark greens like chard and kale.

I love salad greens combined with something warm (I’ve lately been favoring putting my salad on top of my pizza). In this salad the juices from the warm beef combine with the vinaigrette to make a flavorful dressing that slightly wilts the tenderer greens. I recommend a combination of crisper lettuces, like romaine and radicchio, with tender leaves such as mache, arugula, frisee, and leaf lettuces. And instead of croutons I’ve made a garlicky crostata — the whole effect is like a fantastic steak sandwich completely deconstructed.

Here, along with the red onion and fennel for the grill, are romaine, red leaf lettuce, mache, radicchio, and basil

Warm Grilled Steak & Gorgonzola Salad | 4 servings

1 1/2 pound rib eye or other quality beefsteak (or 2)
1 large or 2 small red onions
1 fennel bulb
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/4 head red leaf lettuce
1/4 head radicchio
Mache or arugula
Basil leaves
Ciabatta or other loaf bread
1 clove of garlic

For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon honey mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Small pinch of salt
Small pinch of sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
Pinch of dried or fresh tarragon
Freshly ground black pepper

Pitted Niçoise olives
Several ounces gorgonzola or bleu cheese (crumbling type)

Light a charcoal grill. Remove the steak from the refrigerator to allow it to come to room temperature while the grill is heating up. Slice the onion into thick slices. Cut the top off the fennel bulb, halve, cut out the solid core, and slice. Rub the steak and vegetables lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

I've sprinkled my steak with a little grill seasoning called "Chophouse Blend," made by Simply Organic

While the grill fires up, prepare the salad ingredients. Break the romaine and leaf lettuce into pieces. Thinly slice the radicchio. Wash all the greens and dry well, preferably in a salad spinner.

I love my salad spinner -- I also love salad lettuces broken into bite-sized pieces

Place the washed greens in a large bowl and cover with a squeezed-out dampened paper towel. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

The fridge keeps the greens crisp, and the dampened paper towel keeps them from drying out

Slice the bread into 1/2-inch slices and toast. Brush with olive oil on one side, and lightly rub the cut end of a peeled clove of garlic on the oiled side of the toast. Cut the toasts in half lengthwise and set aside until needed.

You will not need this whole clove of garlic, even for a dozen slices of bread -- raw garlic is strong so a little goes a long way!

Prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl or measuring cup put the mustard, vinegar, salt, and sugar and combine. Using a small whisk, pour the olive oil into the vinegar mixture, whisking all the while. Add tarragon and pepper and set aside until needed.

I've used a Zinfandel vinegar here -- balsamic vinegar may overpower the honey mustard but feel free to get creative

The idea is to whisk constantly so that the oil and vinegar create an emulsion, and are in a suspended mixture -- use enough oil to have a rich, olive-y flavor, not too tart

The vinaigrette, properly emulsified, will be almost creamy

Now add dried or fresh herbs, like tarragon, a little pepper, salt if needed -- if it becomes separated just whisk it back together

When the coals are covered with ash but still glow red, grill the fennel and onion, covered, about 4 minutes per side or until browned.

Vegetables caramelize and brown beautifully on the grill

Remove the grilled vegetables and cook the steak over hot coals (open the vents completely), covered, approximately 5 minutes per side. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak.

A little char is great, but cover the grill to avoid burning the meat

Steak can overcook within a minute, so watch carefully -- the top will still spring back but it will feel more dense. Cook steak to 120°F for rare and then rest the meat under foil for 5 to 10 minutes -- it keeps cooking even after it's removed from the heat

While the meat is resting, slice the grilled vegetables into large pieces. Toss the salad greens with vinaigrette, taking care not to overdress the salad. Divide the dressed greens onto serving plates, and sprinkle with the grilled vegetables, olives and crumbled gorgonzola.

The salad is dressed and ready for the warm sliced beef

When the beef has rested for 5 minutes or more, thinly slice it, preserving the juices.

This is more toward medium-rare, but that's as cooked as I like it

Arrange the beef slices over each serving, and spoon some of the juices over each plate as well. Sprinkle with black pepper, arrange the garlic toasts on each plate, and serve.

Welcome grill, welcome summer.

Kelly McCune © 2011

 


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Barry Franklin May 13, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I thought Irish Soda Bread would outlast our Winter! The steak salad looks wonderful. Was just going to send you this –
http://tinyurl.com/3tgw9rz

Kelly May 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I knew you’d be on me, Barry! Okay, I’m baaack, and I love your link for the bresaola (because I love bresaola!). Do check out my YouFude link.

Ray May 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Kell, the bread was getting stale… glad to see you are back.

Kelly May 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Spring awakening!

Sue May 14, 2011 at 8:17 am

Yeah -You’re back! with another mouthwatering culinary inspiration!!!! We missed you — but this looks absolutely delicious! Want to hear what Border Radio has been up to

Sue

Sylvia Newkirk-Ma July 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Kelly, this salad looks great. I can’t wait to serve for my dinner guest this coming weekend. I will let you know how it turns out.

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