Bring together best of salads and summer grilling
Sunday, July 8, 2012
AP Food Editor
Summer is prime time for salads and grilling. So why not bring them together in one delicious dish?
One of my favorite warm weather meals involves just that. I pile my dinner plate with the makings of a robust salad -- a mass of greens, sliced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, often even leftover grilled vegetables from the night before. Then I thinly slice whatever meat I tossed on the grill and use that to top the salad. A sprinkle of vinaigrette and it's good to go.
For this salad, I went with my favorite grill-friendly steak -- flank. It takes well to seasoning rubs, cooks quickly and slices nicely. For the seasoning rub, I went with a simple blend, the highlights of which are fennel seeds and cumin (but you could substitute whatever seasonings you prefer).
Be warned: this is no frilly salad. To stand up to hot steak, a salad must be robust. Plus, the point here is for it to be a meal, not a side.
FENNEL-CUMIN FLANK STEAK SALAD
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 pounds flank steak
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-ounce package baby arugula
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
4-ounce log soft goat cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Heat the grill to medium-high.
In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, combine the fennel, cumin, mustard, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Grind well, then rub the mixture over both sides of the flank steak. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and garlic, toss well, then set aside.
Divide the arugula between 4 serving plates. Top with the bell pepper and avocado. Crumble a quarter of the goat cheese over each plate of arugula, then sprinkle with dried cranberries.
Using an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs, oil the grill grates. Add the steak and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then heap a quarter of it on top of each salad.
Spoon a quarter of the tomatoes, as well as any liquid in the bowl, over each salad.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 570 calories; 290 calories from fat (51 percent of total calories); 33 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrate; 48 g protein; 7 g fiber; 920 mg sodium.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Food Editor J.M. Hirsch is author of the cookbook "High Flavor, Low Labor: Reinventing Weeknight Cooking." Follow him to great eats on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JM--Hirsch or email him at jhirsch(at)ap.org.