As much as I love this time of year, sometimes I wish Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years didn’t come all on top of each other. Do you ever feel that way?
To me, it would be really nice to space out the fun, festivities and feasting. But no one asked me when the calendar was being set for these end of the year holidays and I have a feeling they didn’t ask you either. I guess that means we just have to go with it, huh?
Actually there’s nothing wrong with fun, festivities and feasting. Getting together with family and dear friends, parties, caroling, finding perfect gifts for loved ones, enjoying special meals together, a myriad of delicious indulgences … it’s all part of what makes this season so unique and memorable.
It’s just that everything seems to come at once and about halfway through the season I, personally, start to go into overload; particularly when it comes to rich and heavy foods. It seems everywhere I look and everyplace I go, someone is making, offering or serving something delicious, but way over the top in calories, carbs, fat or all three.
That’s exactly why I’m offering this wonderful Steak and Potato Arugula Salad today. It’s a perfect antidote to the season’s indulgences. At the same time, it’s delicious and a great option for both everyday meals as well as holiday entertaining. I don’t know about you, but I’d be thrilled to be invited to a holiday dinner and be surprised with a hearty, yet fresh and decently healthy menu.
The salad can be prepped in advance, which makes it a wonderful option for a dinner party. Just rewarm the steak and potatoes before serving, and arrange everything on a pretty platter or individual serving plates and voilà! “Dinner is served!” Add a loaf of warm crusty bread, sweet creamery butter, and there’ll be happy diners all around the table.
I used a flat iron steak for my salad, but there are lots of other options – ribeye, New York strip, tenderloin, Porterhouse hanger, flank and sirloin are all great cuts, though the last two would need a marinade before grilling.
Living in North Carolina, we can grill outdoors for much of the year, but the steak can just as easily be pan grilled, and I’ve given instructions below for both.
Look for miniature potatoes at the market, but if you can’t find the little ones, just chose the smallest ones you can find and dice them into bite-sized pieces. The potatoes and the dressing can be prepped early in the day leaving minimal last minute fussing. Toss them with a splash of the dressing about an hour before serving, to let them soak up all the delicious flavor.
The dressing? It’s a super simple classic dressing similar to one that’s served all over France. It has a delicious gourmet touch, champagne vinegar. Champagne vinegar can be found at some larger grocers and specialty grocers like Trader Joes and Whole Foods. If you can’t find champagne vinegar, a good quality white wine vinegar will also work. The dressing also includes a generous scoop of Dijon mustard, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sugar, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Shake it all up in a lidded jar and you’re done!
In addition to steak and potatoes, there’s halved, sweet cherry tomatoes (I like to use both red and yellow), thinly sliced scallions and tiny cubes of Feta cheese all nestled on a bed of peppery baby arugula. If you’re not crazy about arugula or can’t find it, baby spinach, field green greens, baby kale or mesclun mix would all work equally well. (I often use a mix of baby arugula and baby spinach.) The finishing touch is a scatter of feathery fresh dill.
That’s my prescription for HIO (holiday indulgence overload). I’ve served it several times now, with rave reviews. No one misses all the extra calories, carbs and fat. Happy (and healthy) Holidays!
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- For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teasoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad:
- 1 pound small new potatoes
- 1 ½ pound flat iron steak removed from refrigerator 30-40 minutes before grilling
- 6 cups baby arugula baby spinach, field green greens, baby kale or mesclun will also work
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved (I like to use red and yellow)
- 4 medium green spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
- ¼ c. torn fresh dill
- 3 ounces Feta cheese cubed
- To make the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake, shake, shake. Set aside. Shake again vigorously before using.
- Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold salted (1 teaspoon salt) water by 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 8 to 12 minutes. Drain and cut in half. Toss with 3 tablespoons vinaigrette in a bowl. Let sit, stirring occasionally, while the steak is cooking. Most of the dressing will be absorbed.
- Meanwhile grill the steak.
- To cook on a gas or charcoal grill, prepare grill (high heat). Season steaks with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place steaks on grill rack and cook to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side 135˚F for medium-rare, 140˚F for medium. Remove steaks from grill; tent loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice steaks across grain.
- For pan grilling, heat 2 teaspoons sunflower oil (or other neutral flavored oil) in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook, partially covered, until the internal temperature registers 135°F for medium-rare, 140˚F for medium, about 5 to 7 minutes per side, or to desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan; tent loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice steaks across grain.
- To serve, arrange arugula (or other greens) on a large serving platter or on individual serving plates. Top with warm steak, potatoes (warm slightly in microwave, if desired) and cherry tomatoes. Scatter with Feta cheese and scallions. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of dressing, then sprinkle salad with fresh dill, a bit of sea salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Serve extra dressing at the table.
*Champagne vinegar is available at some larger grocers, as well as at specialty shops like Trader Joes, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market. It's also available online.
** To prep ahead, cook potatoes early in the day. Drain and refrigerate whole. Two hours before serving, remove from refrigerator to bring to room temperature. An hour before serving, cut potatoes in half and toss with 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Let sit, stirring occasionally. Warm potatoes in the microwave for 30-60 seconds before serving.
Steak can be grilled up to a day ahead. Allow steak to sit for 10 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate. Just before serving, heat steak on power level 5 for 2-3 minutes, just until warmed through.
Tomatoes and green onions can be prepped an hour or two in advance and set aside in covered bowls.
Dressing can be prepared 2-3 days in advance.