A steakhouse-style salad recipe complete with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and herbed croutons, grill-seared rib eye steak, crumbly cheese, and outdoor dining.
The end of the year is a whirlwind of papers and projects sent home that are currently occupying every inch of the living room rug and the entire dining room table. There are bubbles left over from summer birthday celebrations on the final days of school, a yellow plastic wand littering our front steps.
With wide eyes and voices raised in excitement, the kids eagerly show us and each other all the pictures and notebooks they’ve carried home before abandoning it all and charging out onto the lawn in bare feet. Manilla envelopes with their last trimester grades opened and read and then discarded because school’s out for summer. – Shaina
As a father of four children, it’s funny how the same milestone can trigger a different experience depending on which child is involved. Recently, Magnus, our youngest, graduated from kindergarten. For the other three it wasn’t such a big deal, they were ready for school at the beginning and it was no surprise when they successfully completed the first year. With Magnus it was different. Not only is he the baby of the family, he also has a July birthday which made him one of the youngest in his class. He worked hard to catch up to his older classmates, and his progress by the end of the school year was truly remarkable.
In our house, celebrating a milestone usually means cooking something special. Each kid has their favorite type of food, so we try to cater to their specific tastes when they have their time in the limelight. While Magnus is still developing his own preferences, there is no doubt that he is a beef man.
Steak dinner. When we hear this phrase, many of us think of heavy slabs of seared meat with massive baked potatoes alongside dense steamed vegetables. While that notion can be warm and comforting around the dark winter dinner table, it becomes less than ideal for a sunny June evening on the patio. Eating steak outdoors lends itself to lighter fare. Leafy greens and light dressings play well with fresh croutons, crumbly cheeses and a thinly sliced rib eye.
A plate like this brings levity to the long summer days and lends itself well to sipping wine while the kids break into a spontaneous game of freeze tag. It is a necessity when the parents are implored by young barefoot messengers to join in the taggery. A dinner of this sort is almost mandatory when the burden of homework is lifted and the morning alarms have been made obsolete for the foreseeable future.
For the occasion, Shaina and I teamed up on a celebratory steak salad. The cool greens and tangy vinaigrette create the perfect nest for a moderate portion of hearty steak punctuated with bright feta and warm, crisp croutons.
Steakhouse Salad with Grilled Ribeye and Balsamic Vinaigrette
- For the steak:
- 1 10-ounce rib eye
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- For the croutons:
- 12 ounces French bread cubed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (like Maille)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 small shallot, finely minced
- ⅓ – ½ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minced (can substitute other herbs)
- For the salad
- 6 cups spring mix greens or baby greens
- 1 medium or 2 small cucumbers, thinly slices
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 green onions, diced
- ¼ cup gorgonzola crumbles
- Season each side of the steak with half of the salt and pepper.
- Heat grill to medium high and place steak on the cooking grate. Flip to an unused portion of the cooking surface after three minutes. After another three minutes flip again. Wait two more minutes and flip a final time.
- Steak should be medium after another two minutes, verify your preferred doneness with a meat thermometer and remove. Allow the steak to rest for about five minutes before slicing thin.
- While the steak is resting, mix together all ingredients except the bread in a large bowl. After mixing, add bread cubes and toss to coat evenly. Heat a large skillet to medium and add half of the bread cubes. Stir to flip the toasting croutons every two minutes until most cubes are evenly toasted, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove and repeat with the remaining half of the bread.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, sea salt, and the shallot in a bowl or cup. Whisk together. While whisking, slowly pour in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the fresh herbs.
- Toss all the salad ingredients, croutons, steak strips, and the vinaigrette together and serve.