This Grilled Steak Salad and Sweet Cherry Salad is the perfect summer salad – healthy, hearty, bursting with fresh, seasonal ingredients and loaded with tender, succulent steak!
It seems that every time I run into the grocery store at this time of the year, there’s new summer produce, beautifully displayed and (always) calling my name. The corn has been sweet and tender and yesterday I noticed plump, shiny red cherries on sale. I was reminded that it’s the perfect time to make this wonderful Grilled Steak and Sweet Cherry Salad! This seasonal salad recipe was created and published back in 2015 but it’s so delicious I decided to update the pictures and text and bump it back up to the top of the blog for your summer enjoyment.
The first time I made this seasonal salad, Scott took one bite and said, ” “This is fantastic”! He loved the bright, fresh dressing and there wasn’t even one kernel of corn left on his plate at the end of the meal. He called it “a hearty man’s salad” and thought it would be perfect for Father’s Day. I agree, although I loved it as much as he did, and think it would also be a great choice for a girl’s night get together.
Here’s what one reader had to say about this recipe:
Hi Chris, I almost never comment on blogs, and it’s even more rare for me to rave about a salad, but…WOW! Dinner was almost completely quiet last night because we couldn’t stop eating, and we paused only to talk about how great it was! That dressing! Luckily we have leftovers for tonight!
The dressing for this Grilled Steak and Sweet Cherry Salad really deserves a post of its own. It’s a variation of one of our all-time favorite salad dressing, this Sweet Basil Vinaigrette. I gave the recipe a new twist for this steak salad, cutting back a bit on the sweetness, omitting the mustard and adding ginger and lemongrass for a fresh, new taste. Once you try it, I think you’ll agree that it’s a fabulous addition to any summer salad!
Use your favorite steak
I have used rib-eye, flat-iron steak, New York strip and beef tenderloin fillets. They are all delicious, so just use whichever you like best and/or whichever is most affordable.
The right temperature for steak
The important thing when grilling steak is to take it off the grill when it reaches “the right” temperature. It’s easy to check the temperature with an instant thermometer. Instant thermometers are quite affordable these days and, like the name says, will register an accurate temperature within seconds. Instant thermometers are small and easy to store and can also be used for lots of other kitchen tasks. This one is also waterproof and has a lifetime warranty.
The right temperature for steak will depend on your taste. According to Certified Angus Beef, here are the temperatures for various degrees of doneness:
- For rare steak – 125˚F. or 52˚C will yield a cool red center.
- For medium-rare steak – 135˚F. or 57˚C. will yield a warm red center.
- For medium steak – 145˚F. or 63˚C. will yield a warm pink center.
- For medium-well steak – 150˚F. or 66˚C. will yield a slightly pink center.
- For wee-done steak – 160˚F. or 71˚C. will yield a center with little or no pink.
Throw a bag of cherries, a few ears of fresh corn and a nice steak in your cart next time you’re at the market. If you like meals light and lean, but bursting with fresh, fabulous flavor, I think you’ll love having this Grilled Steak and Sweet Cherry Salad in your summer recipe arsenal – Bon Appetit from The Café!
Café Tips for making this Grilled Steak and Sweet Cherry Salad
- Serve the steak and corn warm or at room temperature, either way, it’s great. If you’re one who doesn’t like to fuss at the last minute, everything for this salad can be prepped ahead of time*** and plated right before serving.
- I used to think it was a pain in the neck to pit cherries. I only bought them for eating, as it was too much work to pit them for recipes; plus I hated that my fingers were always stained red after the tedious process. No more! A few summers ago, I discovered this inexpensive cherry pitter and now I use cherries in lots of recipes! I don’t even mind making cherry jam these days (which takes a LOT of pitted cherries). You can pit enough cherries to make a batch of jam in 5 minutes with this handy little device! And if you have children or grandchildren, they think it’s really fun to help – and actually fight over who gets to pit the cherries!
- The dressing calls for 2 cups of basil. That’s a lot of basil. It’s a perfect way to use up a bumper crop of basil but if you only have one cup or just a packet from the grocery store, go ahead and make it with the smaller amount, it will still be delicious!
- The basil leaves are blanched in hot water before being combined with the other ingredients and blended. This is done to destroy the enzymes which can cause discoloring and spoilage of the dressing. The blanching helps keep the pretty green color intact for days.
- The salad dressing in this recipe calls for both fresh ginger and fresh lemongrass. I find it really convenient to keep tubes of ginger paste and lemongrass paste in either the refrigerator or the freezer. These aren’t ingredients I use on an everyday basis but it’s nice to have them on hand for recipes like this. These pastes taste like the fresh products and will keep in the freezer for months on end. When it’s in the freezer and I need some for a recipe, I just let the tube thaw for 10 minutes, squeeze out what I need, then pop it right back into the freezer. Both ginger and lemongrass pastes can be found at many larger grocery stores in the produce section.
- To make this Grilled Steak and Sweet Cherry Salad ahead:
- The dressing can be made a day or two in advance and will keep for 3-4 days.
- The steak can be grilled several hours in advance. Tent steak and bring to room temperature, then wrap in foil and refrigerate. Slice and warm slightly before serving either in the oven or on power level 2 in the microwave.
- The corn can be cooked early in the day. Slice kernels off the cobs and refrigerate. Warm before serving, if desired, or just bring to room temperature.
- Pit and halve the cherries a few hours ahead and store them in a storage container in the refrigerator.
- Put it all together just before serving and wait for the rave reviews!
This Grilled Steak Salad and Sweet Cherry Salad is the perfect summer salad - healthy, hearty, bursting with fresh, seasonal ingredients and loaded with tender, succulent steak!
- 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves about ¼ pound
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh lemongrass or lemongrass paste
- ¾ cup mild-flavored oil such as sunflower, grapeseed,avocado, vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ears fresh corn unhusked
- 1 ½ pounds flat-iron, beef tenderloin, rib-eye or sirloin steak or your favorite type of steak
- kosher salt
- garlic powder
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup sweet cherries pitted and halved
- ⅓ cup salted cashew halves
For the dressing, bring a medium-large pot, 2/3 full of water, to a rolling boil. Add basil and submerge it under the water with a large, heat-resistant spoon. After 20 seconds, drain basil and rinse with cold water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Gather basil in your hand and squeeze as much water out as possible.
Combine basil with all other dressing ingredients in a blender container. Cover and blend on high till dressing is bright green and silky smooth. When you start blending, the dressing will be flecked with bits of basil. Keep going and it will smooth out. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Set aside.
Prepare corn by placing the three ears in the microwave, unhusked. Cook on high power for 6 minutes. Remove from microwave with a clean kitchen towel or oven mitt and transfer tp a cutting board.
Cut off about 1½-2 inches from the bottom (stem end) of each ear. Hold corn at the silk end with the towel and push the corn out of the husk. The corn comes out perfectly cooked and free of silk! Here's a video demonstration of the technique.
Remove steak from the refrigerator 45 minutes before grilling.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill on high for 20 minutes. Clean the grill grate thoroughly with a wire grill brush and oil the grates.
Just before grilling, sprinkle steak generously with kosher salt, garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper.
Place steaks on the grill and cook until meat reaches the desired temperature. See Café Tips above in the post for steak temperatures. If the meat is deep golden brown on the outside, but has still not reached the desired internal temperature, move the meat to indirect heat to finish cooking.
Remove from grill and tent meat with foil. Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. (This allows the juices to return to the meat.) Slice thinly just before serving. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper, if needed.
For the salad, arrange arugula on four dinner plates. Divide the cherries, corn and steak between the plates. Scatter with cashews and drizzle with dressing. Pass extra dressing at the table.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed tips and instructions.