The tremendously warm weather this week put me in the mood for a refreshing-yet-spicy salad for dinner on Sunday, so I knocked together this little rockstar of a meal. Why you should try it: kind to both your waistline and your wallet, easy to make, and fast to assemble. What’s not to like?
I normally have step-by-step photos for you all, but I had no idea this salad would turn out so well I’d want to blog about it and thus didn’t pause during prep to document the process. Now all you get are carefully staged photos of half-eaten plates.
Your Ingredients (to feed 2)
4-5 cups Fresh Spinach (mix some Arugula in there too if you’d like)
1/2 Granny Smith Apple (we want TART)
2 fresh Green Onions
8-10 oz. Beef (I used $6 of New York Strip Steak; you could use flap, hanger, market,
or skirt steak — at this low weight you can afford a nicer cut if you want)
1/3 cup shelled, salted, roasted peanuts for garnish and crunch
Red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Step One: Season the meat. I have a process for this that helps keep the finely ground spices from falling off during cooking, and forms a nice spicy layer on the outside of the meat. First, rub one side of the steak with salt, then spray with a little non-stick cooking oil. Follow this with enough curry powder to cover the meat (1/2 – 1 tsp should do), spray once more with a little oil, and put one more layer of curry on. Spread it around, flip the steak over and repeat on the other side. Leave the spices and salt to soak in for a few minutes (I waited around 20).
Step Two: When your time is up, heat up a frying pan, grill pan, or the BBQ, and when hot enough, drop your meat into the pan. Cook very briefly on each side (~5 minutes), enough for medium rare. If you’re one of those people who insists on burning meat until all the flavour goes away and it turns grey and rock hard, stop cooking immediately and dedicate yourself to good works, because otherwise you’ll obviously suffer in hell for eternity.
If you don’t know how to tell when meat is cooked to a given level, I have an AMAZING and REVOLUTIONARY tool for you to use. I call it the Five Finger Test. Open your hand up, then touch your thumb with your pointer finger. With your other hand, poke the mound of flesh at the base of said thumb. Unless you’re a muscle-handed rock climbing god, that’s what rare meat should feel like. Repeat with the next finger in line (your middle finger), and the base of your thumb should feel firmer, though still have some give. That’s medium rare to medium. Ring finger is medium to well, and pinky is rock hard well done devil meat. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, of course, but it makes an excellent quick reference and guide, and it means you won’t have to buy a fancy-ass digital readout meat thermometer or poke holes in all your food.
Step Three: While you cook the meat armed with fresh insight, cut the apple into pieces about the dimensions of your pinky, but thinner slices (1/2″ x 2″-3″ x 1/8″). This keeps the apple from settling to the bottom of the bowl, as you’d find with cubes. When you finish that, you can also thinly slice your green onion. Pile all the spinach in a big bowl, drop your apples and onions on top, and toss it lightly to mix before hitting it with 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar and around 2 tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper (apples will absorb all the vinegar if they’re piled on top) . Toss it again to mix things up nicely and get everything coated.
Step Four: When the meat is done, remove from heat and let it sit 2-5 minutes (some of the juices will reintegrate while you wait), then slice thinly. While the meat rests, you can scoop your salad mixture onto plates, then garnish with slices of beef and a sprinkling of the roasted peanuts. Drizzle any juices that ran off the steak during slicing back onto the plates as a final garnish and dash of flavour, and you’re done.
Put it on the table and serve with a good beer. I used a lightly chilled St. Feuillien’s Saison style Belgian (more about this excellent beer later), and it was a truly perfect combination, providing the perfect end to a warm day.