Monday, June 27, 2011

Stroh's Steak Salad - It's What's For Dinner

For years our Steak Salad was a huge hit. In fact I had a great customer named Frank who used to come in every day for years to have a scoop of Steak Salad and a scoop of Chicken Avocado Salad on top of Mixed Greens for lunch.

For this recipe I use Flank Steak because of its rich flavor, and perfect size and shape for slicing into bite sized cubes. Flank Steak is a long flat cut of meat that comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow. Don't worry that it might be a little tougher than other cuts because it will tenderize nicely with the vinaigrette. Weather you are buying grass fed, or organic, be sure that when choosing a piece of Flank, that you look for a deep red color with no shades of brown or grey whatsoever.

The most important technique used in this recipe is searing. We'll first sear the Flank Steak, then we will finish it off in the oven (unless you have a thin piece) for about fifteen to twenty minutes. When searing anything you must have a "searing" hot pan. This means that you will have to get the pan hotter than you would normally use it. You can tell with your ears if the pan is hot enough when you put the beef in. You should hear a high pitched sizzling sound with a couple of zings and pings and something that sounds like pffsssttttzzzzitiiititiiittt. This is when you know it's hot enough.

Ingredients for roughly six to eight servings:
  • 1.5#   Flank Steak
  • 1       Pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1       Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1/2   Head Celery
  • 3-4   Carrots
  • 1       Cucumber
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt / Pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Prepare the Flank Steak by trimming off any excess fat. Place on top of a sheet pan or large platter so you can season the whole piece of meat. Drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on one side and spread it out with the bottom of a spoon. Sprinkle a generous amount of Salt and Black Pepper after you oil the meat. Turn the Flank Steak over and repeat this process.
When meat is served cold it's best to tackle the salt level early because its tough to try to season meat that's been chilled. Try to always use fresh ground pepper in your recipes. You can use a small electric coffee bean grinder or blender to grind the whole peppercorns into a coarse mix or a fine powder. Set the meat aside and turn the heat up under your pan and wait a few minutes.
To test your pan to see if it's hot enough, drop a teaspoon of water into the pan. If the water dances around on top of the pan like a cat on a hot tin roof. If it does than you are ready.
Carefully add the meat to the pan and begin to sear it off. Let the Flank sear for about three to four minutes then flip it over and place it, pan and all in the preheated oven to finish cooking until the temp. reaches your liking. About fifteen to twenty minutes.
I would like to suggest and recommend that for better flavor,  you finish cooking the meat when it's at medium rare or before. You want to end up with a nice outer layer of cooked meat and a juicy red inner layer. Think of a perfectly seared Tuna Barrel ready to be sliced. This is what you're really after.
After you have taken the meat out of the oven, place it in the refrigerator until it is completely cool.
While you are waiting for the meat to cool prepare all of your vegetables. Be sure to use organic vegetables whenever and wherever possible. The difference in flavor over conventionally grown will make everything taste better and is healthier for you ! Thoroughly rinse all of them and peel the Carrots and peel and de-seed the Cucumber.
Dice the carrots, cucumber and celery into a small dice.
Pick the leaves off of the Parsley and finely chop (keep this separate).
Cut all of the cherry tomatoes in half. If you cant find Cherry Tomatoes any Tomato will do just fine.
Unless it took you a couple of hours or so to chop the vegetables, (in which case contact me, so I can show you how to use a knife) the beef should still be cooling off, so take a break and come back to finish it later..

Now that the beef has cooled and the vegetables are chilled it's time to finish the dish. Start off by cutting the Flank Steak into small cubes about the size of the dice on a Vegas Craps table or just a tad bigger. Place them into a large mixing bowl and add the diced vegetables. Start to season everything by adding some salt and pepper and a few splashes of Sherry Vinegar and gently mix. Now add the Cherry Tomatoes and some Olive Oil and mix a little more. Taste a cube of beef and get a sense of how much more seasoning you need. If you want it a little more tangy add some salt and vinegar. If you want it a little more smooth add some Olive Oil.
If you're not sure take a few spoons full of the mixture out and put it in a small bowl, and test the seasoning limits with a smaller portion. You can always add this back into the larger mixture without affecting it flavor wise at all.
After you have seasoned it to your liking, mix the parsley in. Let the completed mix marinate in the fridge for a little while stirring occasionally before serving. You can easily keep this in the refrigerator in a covered container for up to two days.

I hope you really enjoy this recipe ! Take the time and look for Grass Fed Beef at a good price so that you can really taste and experience the difference. Be sure to stay up to date as my next post will be entirely on Grass Fed Beef.