Now that we’re all back from Spring Break, those of us who vacationed in warmer climes can finally give up on those silly beach body diets. But, we hear going from eating celery and water everyday to Five Guys burgers can be a little hard on the tummy. We advise baby steps, and Cooking with Bwog‘s culinary connoisseur Matt Powell wants to help. Here’s a salad reminiscent of your dieting days, but with a beefy twist.
Believe it or not, I actually love salad. Though I may seem a little hostile toward “healthier” meals, I can’t deny their convenience—salads are fast and easy to make. Unfortunately for me, meals lacking protein are typically unfulfilling. The solution? Steak!
Hanger Steak Salad
1 handful of hazelnuts
1 Hanger Steak (about .75-1 lb.)—Don’t worry, this is one of the cheapest cuts at West Side.
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil (I used duck fat. Butter would also be an acceptable substitution.)
1 Bosc Pear, sliced thinly lengthwise and seeds removed
Sugar and a pinch of salt
1 ½ tbsp. butter
½ of a fennel bulb, sliced thinly lengthwise
4 large handfuls of spinach (or any other green leaf, although I wouldn’t advise lettuces with very high water content)
Gorgonzola Dolce Cheese
For the dressing:
¼ C olive oil, 2 tbsp. vinegar (preferably red wine or champagne), and 1 tbsp. honey
Toast the hazelnuts: Place the nuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. While the nuts are toasting, you can complete the other tasks.
Season the hanger steak with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil in a skillet. (Hanger steak is best cooked over a high heat. My EC kitchen stove tends to be on the hot side.). Lay the steak in the skillet. (I had to slice the steak in half so it could fit in the skillet.) Allow the steak to cook for 4-5 minutes on one side. Flip it over and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. You should cook the steak to medium-rare, or an internal temperature of 130 degrees. After cooking, allow the steak to rest on a cutting board for 3 minutes. After it has rested, slice in strips.
Meanwhile, begin caramelizing your pear slices. Sprinkle the slices with about 2 tbsp. of sugar and a little salt. In a separate skillet, melt the 1 ½ tbsp. of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the pear slices in one layer. Allow the pear slices to brown on one side and flip. Allow them to cook until the pear slices are golden brown on the second side. Remove the pear slices to a plate.
Remove the hazelnuts from the oven once they are fragrant. Place the warm hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or in a paper towel. Rub the hazelnuts with the towel to remove the brown skins.
Make the dressing: In a small bowl or a Pyrex dish, mix the olive oil, vinegar, and honey together. (Technically, we should use an immersion blender, but you can use a fork. The addition of honey improves the viscosity of the dressing.)
Assembly: In large bowls, add in the greens of your choice. Top with the caramelized pears. Add in the sliced fennel, using strands and avoiding the tough core. Place the steak strips on top. Crumble the Gorgonzola Dolce on top of the salad (this variety of cheese is actually quite sticky, so crumbling might be a bit difficult). Sprinkle in the hazelnuts, and to finish, drizzle a little dressing over the top.
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