Sunday, January 30, 2011

Citrus Rubbed Skirt Steak Salad

I'm not really a salad type of girl.  You know... those girls who always order salads when they go out on a date.... then they'll dip the tip of their fork in the dressing and then stab a leaf of some green thing that looks like a dandelion.   I'd much rather order a big hunk of steak or chicken with some steamed broccoli than a "garden salad." 

I'm not a rabbit.... I eat and I enjoy meat!  I have, however, realized that salads are convenient.  It's a good way to use leftover meat from a previous meal.  It's also very convenient for me, as a teacher, because my scant 30 minute lunch is often interrupted and cut down to 10 minutes... a quick salad that I can just grab and eat while organizing a lesson is very convenient.  I do get bored though... so I've started looking for yummy salads to try.  I saw this one in a cooking light magazine and thought I'd give it a whirl:

Citrus Rubbed Skirt Steak Salad

* 2 lbs skirt steak
* 2 tsp orange zest
* 2 tsp lemon zest
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* salad greens
* 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
* 2 tbs white wine vinegar
* 1 pinch salt
* 1 pinch pepper

First, I zested an orange and a lemon to get all of the yummy flavors out of the rind.  I threw them in a large glass bowl.  I also minced a clove of garlic and threw that in, along with the red pepper flakes.  I took a spoon and mixed it all together until it was a sticky, fragrant sort of paste.

Next, I had thawed a 2 lb piece of skirt steak.  Skirt steak is a very flavorful and very affordable piece of beef.  It's really a great deal.  It's also traditionally used for fajitas or carne asada.  This is one of the first times that I'd cooked with skirt steak, but I loved it!  Anyway, I threw the skirt steak into the bowl, mixed it all together until the steak was pretty well covered, and let it sit for a few minutes while I heated up my grill pan.

I might have mentioned it before, but I have a love/hate relationship with my grill pan.  It's cast iron and there are all sorts of  "rules" when it comes to taking care of your cast iron pan.  You can't use soap, you can't use a sponge, you can't frown at it or call it names... etc...  Sometimes it works really well... other times, marinades and stuff sticks to it and I have a searingly hot pan that you can't touch without an oven mitt.  Anyway, I threw a little bacon fat on the grill pan and heated it up to medium high. 

I threw the steak on there (it was really long, so I actually cut it into 2 steaks) and let it sear on the outside.  Because it was so thin, it only took a few minutes to cook on either side.  You want the pan to be pretty hot so that it sears and locks in all of the juicy steak flavors.  After about 2 minutes, I flipped it and let it cook on the other side.  After it was cooked, I pulled it off and let it rest on a plate to let the juices redistribute.

You don't want to cut it immediately, or else all the juices (aka flavor) will run out and leak onto your cutting board.  I let the steaks sit for about 10 minutes then cut it across the grain into thin slices, ready for a salad.  This steak was really yummy and could be served with a veggie as a meal.  It would probably go really well with some lemon green beans - the lemon would pick up the flavors of the steak.   I decided to continue on with the salad though...

I took the orange that I zested and cut it in half.  I juiced 1 half of it and it yielded just about 1/4 cup of orange juice.  I also added in the white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and a little bit of pepper.  I got to use this tiny little whisk that Curt's mom gave me last Christmas.  It was the perfect size for making sure the dressing was mixed well. 

On a plate, I put some of the salad greens.  I also like lots of stuff in my salads... to make sure that they have lots of different flavors and textures.  I added in some cucumbers and also the orange sections from the half of the orange I didn't use.  I then set the thinly sliced skirt steak on top and drizzled the dressing over the whole salad.

The salad was pretty good.  I really liked the citrus rub on the steak.  I usually just like my steaks pretty plain.  I like the flavor of the grass fed beef without anything to mask it.  But... this was a really nice change.  The brightness of the citrus really added a little something extra to make it very flavorful and a little bit lighter.  Curt really liked it too.  He kept picking off the pieces of the steak before I had even packed them away for lunches throughout the week.  I'm definitely going to save this recipe and use it again!

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