If you haven’t noticed, we at NDP eat almost all vegetarian food. Meat and poultry rarely make their way into our weekly diet, and I personally couldn’t be happier. I can’t say the same for my co-habitant, but who makes the food? I do. That’s right.
An important distinction: I am NOT a vegetarian. No, no, no. That would never be. Every once in a while, I really, just really really need some meat. When that happens, I like to humor D with a little beefy deliciousness.
I’ve been seeing skirt steak everywhere lately, from other blogs to Top Chef and beyond. It’s a summer favorite because it cooks up in minutes, and it’s lovely on salad. It also happens to be particularly flavorful, which can’t hurt. We picked some up on our way home this afternoon, and my usual patient self decided to make it right away. I’d tagged an epicurious recipe for skirt steak with wine sauce, which I imagine was intended to serve as a main dish, but as I had a hankering for spinach salad tonight, I plopped the saucy steak on top of a bed of leaves.
Not to sound like a broken record, but you can make a thousand variations of the salad I made tonight. In fact, I’ve probably made spinach salad at least 30 different ways during my measly 25 years. Granted, not all varieties would go well with wine-flavored skirt steak, but lots would. I happened to have some plump dried cherries that D’s mom sent me a while back, as well as my favorite “crunchy mix” consisting of sesame seeds, sliced almonds, and raw crushed-up ramen noodles that I’d toasted. I threw both of those in with the spinach, dressed it all with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a few drops of pomegranate syrup, and laid slices of steak on top. So long as your skirt steak isn’t loaded with fat and connective tissue as mine was, I guarantee you’ll have a delicious dinner.
Sweet-Tart-Crunchy Skirt Steak Salad
1 1/2 lb skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup dry red wine
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pat steak dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook steaks, turning over once, 5 to 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter.
Pour off fat from skillet, then add wine, thyme, bay leaf, sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits. Continue to boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add any meat juices on platter, then remove from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme. Slice steaks thinly, drizzle with pan sauce, and serve.
Sweet-Tangy-Crunchy Spinach Salad
3/4 cups loosely packed spinach
1/2 cup dried cherries (or substitute cranberries, raisins, black currants, etc)
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced and/or slivered almonds
1/2 cup ramen noodles, raw and crushed
2 Tbsp good olive oil
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp pomegranate syrup
salt and pepper to taste
In a 350-degree oven, toast noodles, almonds and sesame seeds until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely. Aside from that, you know the drill — combine the dressing ingredients; drizzle over the salad ingredients; eat.