As summer slowly moves into fall, the gorgeous fresh produce of summer fades and the beautiful autumn bounty isn’t quite in yet. The calendar may say autumn, but the weather has other ideas. It’s not quite time for soup and stew season and still nice enough to eat outdoors. I love a big platter salad for communal friend and family eating. It’s beautiful to present and everyone gets to tailor their own meal. This steak house salad version is hearty enough for the early days of fall, but light enough for the waning warm weather.
The elements for this hearty salad come together easily enough. You can cook the potatoes, bake the croutons, cook the bacon and make the dressing ahead of time, then simply cook the steak and onions and assemble. The instructions I give here are for indoor cooking, but you can absolutely grill the steak and the onions if you prefer. I lay the instructions out element by element, rather that a traditional format, so read through completely and make a plan.
Blue Cheese Dressing
½ cup sour cream
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon chopped chive
Generous grids of black pepper
½ cup buttermilk
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for several hours or up to two days.
Half a baguette
Salt and pepper
Slice the baguette into thin slices and lay on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until golden and toasted. Cool completely. These can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days.
1 pound red potatoes
¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sea salt
Cut the potatoes into quarters and place in a large pot. Cover with water by about an inch and add the ¼ cup vinegar and a Tablespoon of salt. Bring toa boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until a knife slides easily into a potato piece. Drain in a colander and return to the pot. Toss the cooked potatoes with the remaining vinegar and salt and leave to cool, then refrigerate for an hour or over night in an airtight container.
½ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoons Dijon
3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons balsamic
1 pound flatiron steak
Salt and pepper
Whisk the marinade together in a bowl. Remove 2 Tablespoons for the onions, then pour the rest over the steak in a ziptop bag or flat container. Marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight is fine.
When ready to cook the steak, remove it from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, then remove it from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and pepper then preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a cast iron skillet lightly with olive oil, then heat over high heat until sizzling. Place the steak in the skillet and cook for 2 – 3 minutes until seared – the steak should lift easily from the surface without sticking – turn the steak over with tongs and sear for 2 minutes, then transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until medium rare, about 5 minutes. The internal temperature should be 130 degrees. Transfer the cooked steak to a cutting board and tent with foil. You can cook the onions while the steak is cooking or resting. Thinly slice the steak to serve on the salad. You can serve it warm, room temperature or chilled.
I like to put some of the cherry tomatoes in the hot skillet after I cook the steak to soften and char them a little, and include a mix of charred and raw tomatoes on the platter.
Roasted Red Onions
2 red onions
2 Tablespoon steak marinade
Slice the onions into rings about ½ inch thick. Place the whole rings (do not separate) in a flat dish and pour over the marinade.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil or foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place the whole, intact onion slices on the baking sheet and pat off any excess marinade and pat up any marinade pooling on the pan. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, then use tongs to carefully flip the onion slices. Continue cooking for 10 – 15 more minutes until soft. Separate the rings to serve.
8 ounces arugula
6 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Spread the arugula on the bottom of a large platter or serving board. Arrange the steak slices in the center of the platter and attractively add a row of onion to one side, a row of potatoes on the other. Fill it our with charred and raw tomatoes, the crumbled bacon and croutons. Serve the dressing on the side in a small pitcher or gravy boat. Serve with tongs so every dinner can assembly a salad to their liking.
Serves 4 – 6