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Steak Salad with Shaved Fennel and Dried Cherries

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

Seared steak, crisp greens and fennel, tart dried cherries, and salty cheese come together in this company-worthy main-course salad. While you’re prepping the ingredients, let the steak sit at room temperature, which will help it cook more evenly.

  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2-cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced (about 2 Tbs.)
  • 1 lb. skirt steak
  • 3-1/2 oz. mâche or 1 small head bibb lettuce, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 1-1/2 lb.), trimmed, quartered, cored, and thinly shaved with a mandoline or vegetable peeler (reserve some fronds for garnish)
  • 4 oz. ricotta salata or feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dried tart cherries
Tip:
You can substitute flank steak or strip steak for the skirt steak, if you like.

Combine the vinegar, 1 tsp. of the thyme, the mustard, sugar, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the oil, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Whisk in the shallot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle the steak with the remaining 1 tsp. thyme and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the steak and cook undisturbed until it starts to brown at the edges and easily releases from the pan, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the steak is done to your liking (make a nick in a thicker end to check), 2 to 3 minutes more for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

While the steak rests, in a large bowl, toss the mâche, fennel, ricotta salata, and cherries with enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the steak rests, in a large bowl, toss the mâche, fennel, ricotta salata, and cherries with enough of the vinaigrette to coat lightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 650; Fat (g): fat g 49; Fat Calories (kcal): 440; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 31; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 21; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 650; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 85; Fiber (g): fiber g 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made numerous minor substitutions to this recipe due to what I had on hand but kept the basic intention the same. Best steak salad I have made. Easy. Definitely a keeper.

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