Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Improvisation on a theme by Mark Bittman!

I was contemplating dinner today, and a request for steak salad had been received. I was trying to decide what sort of salad to serve it with whilst I was perusing a list that was recently published in the New York Times. 101 Simple Salads for the Season by that demigod of food Mark Bittman.

The description of no. 46 caught my eye, 'feels like steakhouse side-dish salad', and so, with Mark Bittman's salad for a guide I created the following. What follows is more of a improvisation than a recipe - you'll notice I've not included much in the way of precise measuring. I've typed it up here in the hope that I can recreate this sometime. Everyone should experiment in the kitchen, if the worse happens you can always call for pizza.

Peter's Cheap Steak Improv - serves 2 (or 1 if really hungry)

Steak - I used 'Beef round sirloin tip steak cap off'.

I must make a confession here, I don't understand cuts of beef. I don't know what 'beef round sirloin tip steak cap off' means - it's all gobbledygook to me. I was looking for Flank Steak but couldn't see any. This was about the same thickness (i.e just under 1/2 inch thick) and didn't appear to have any bones, so I grabbed it and was on my way.

Mushrooms - 10 oz baby bella, sliced thinly

I may not know beef, but I know mushrooms. I wanted something with a great flavor and those basic white button mushrooms, although they are o.k. when in something just weren't going to cut it when I wanted the mushrooms to be a featured performer.

I bag of freshly washed spinach

Blue Cheese crumbles

Oh I also used a few things I had in my pantry,

Ancho chili powder

Lime Pepper (lemon pepper or normal black pepper would do too)



Lemon Juice



If I'd have been thinking I would have purchased a shallot and cooked it along with the mushrooms, but I forgot.

Mix together the ancho chili powder, lime pepper, cumin and paprika and then rub it onto both sides of the steak. I normally put a diamond cut into both sides of the meat to help the seasoning penetrate, but the meat is so thin I'm guessing it doesn't really matter.

Saute the mushrooms in some olive oil until they brown - don't crowd the pan!

With just a slight addition of olive oil if required, cook the steak. Place it in the pan and don't touch it for 5 minutes. Then turn it over and don't touch it for 5 minutes more!

Take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes.

See all that yummy burnt stuff on the bottom of your skillet? Know it where it gets really fun! Add some cream to the pan and scrape until it all comes off into the cream. Slowly bring it to the boil. Mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with a little cold water and then pour this into the cream in the skillet and stir very rapidly. The sauce will quickly thicken! Season with salt/pepper to taste and then put in a bowl to one side and clean out the skillet.

Chop up the spinach so it is quite small. Put the spinach and the mushrooms back in the skillet (with a little olive oil) just long enough for the spinach to wilt. (It always amazes me how much spinach reduces by when it is wilted!) Put into a serving bowl, toss in some blue cheese sprinkles and then spritz with lemon juice.

Slice the steak diagonally against the grain into thin strips.

Serve the mushroom spinach cheese salad with some strips of steak that have been lovingly caressed by the cream sauce.


1 comment:

kathy kelley said...

oh yum. steak salad, one of my favs.