italian{ish} steak salad

Every so often when I positively crave red meat, cave woman style, nothing but a steak will do.  I have experimented with various cuts and cooking methods, and have found one that is perfect for a worknight meal.  It involves a short, pre-grill marinade and another short, post-grill marinade while the steak is still hot, which allows it to soak up additional flavor right before serving.  The marinade combines a few wonderfully intense flavors I associate with Italy – lemons, garlic and red chili flakes, which are ultimately balanced out by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the nuttiness of the Parmesan cheese.

Recipe continued after the jump…

Recipe

Serves 2 greedy people as a main course

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or red wine vinegar
  • Zest of 1 lemon {zested using a microplane}
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes {optional}
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped roughly
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated {using a microplane}
  • 1/2 pound flank steak or skirt steak, at room temperature
  • Several large handfuls of salad greens {I used a spring mix, but arugula would be excellent}
  • 1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds and white pith removed
  • Parmesan cheese

Mix olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, chili flakes {if using}, thyme and garlic in a large, shallow bowl.  Add sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Place steak in bowl, turning over a few times to let all the flavors of the marinade coat the steak thoroughly.  Let marinade for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours, turning occassionally.

Heat a grill pan or large skillet over high heat.  Brush grill pan or skillet with vegetable oil to coat.  When grill pan or skillet is very hot and almost smoking, add steak.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes, then flip.  Cook for another 1-2 minutes, then flip again.  Continue to cook and flip until steak is prepared to your liking – about 6-8 minutes total for medium rare, depending on the thickness of your steak.  As soon as steak is done cooking, add the steak back to the bowl with the marinade, turning it to coat again.  Let the steak and tomatoes soak in the marinade for at least 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad, turning the steak occassionally.

While the grill pan or skillet is still hot, add the bell pepper halves and cook, turning every 1-2 minutes until charred to your liking.  Once cooked and cooled, slice the pepper into thin slices.

On a serving platter, spread out the salad greens.  Remove steak from marinade, and slice into thin strips, “across the grain.”  Scatter the tomatoes, sliced bell pepper and sliced steak over the greens.  Drizzle the leftover marinade over the salad.  Shave the parmesan over the salad and serve.

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