Here’s a salad for meat and potatoes folks. While it’s certainly possible to grill steak and cook potatoes just for this dish, I almost always prepare extra when making a steak dinner to have for this salad a few days later. This recipe is loosely based on a steak salad I ordered at Chicago’s venerable Berghof restaurant years ago. They used beef, and I usually do as well, but when making it for the accompanying picture, I used a (leftover) savory lamb shoulder steak I purchased from Knob Hill Livestock at the Old State Capitol Farmers Market (www.knobhilllivestock.com/products.html)
- 1 – 1 1/2 lb. steak – use whatever cut you like best, but it should be one that can be easily cut into thin slices.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper OR cracked peppercorns
- 1 lb. cooked potatoes, cut into
- bite-sized slices or cubes
- 1 large or 2 small heads bibb or Boston lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces, 6 – 8 c. total
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 medium tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Jonathan, peeled and cored
- 2 T. chopped fresh tarragon
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
- Crumbled blue cheese, optional
- For the dressing*:
- 1 large free-range organic egg
- 2 tsp. dried tarragon
- 2 T. chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 T. chopped shallot
- 1/4 - 1/3 c. seasoned (sushi) rice wine vinegar
- 3/4 c. vegetable oil, such as canola or a light tasting olive oil
- Salt and sugar to taste
Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper OR, instead of ground pepper, press cracked peppercorns into the meat. Grill over hot coals to the desired degree of doneness. Let rest while preparing the rest of the salad.
In the container of a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the dressing EXCEPT the oil. Blend or process for a couple of minutes until the ingredients are smooth. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream. Adjust the seasoning with salt, sugar and additional rice wine vinegar if necessary, and set aside.
Chop enough of the fennel fronds to measure 2 T. and combine with the chopped tarragon. Cut the stems from the fennel bulbs, and discard. Slice the fennel and apples as thinly as possible, discarding the cores.
In a bowl, toss the fennel and apple slices with just enough dressing to coat and set aside. Thinly slice the steak across the grain and set aside.
Toss the lettuce with just enough dressing to coat. Mix in freshly ground pepper to taste and spread on a large platter. Mound the fennel and apple slaw in the center. Fan the steak slices and the potatoes decoratively around the platter. Drizzle with a little more dressing. (You’ll have extra; refrigerate any leftovers.) Sprinkle with the walnuts and the blue cheese, if using (or pass the blue cheese separately), and top with the chopped tarragon and fennel fronds. Serves 4-6.
*If you have concerns about using raw eggs, or just don’t have the time to make the dressing, a reasonable substitute can be made using 1 c. ranch dressing. Add the dried and fresh tarragon and seasoned rice wine vinegar to taste.