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Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Grilled Steak and Pear Salads with Basil Vinaigrette



Recipe updated April 2015

This inviting, flavor-loaded salad is as pretty as it is delicious. And with only about four ounces of lean, grilled beef per serving, it’s not on the heavy side. I was fortunate to find a very small cut of flank steak, which is great on the grill and in salads. If you can't find a small flank steak for two servings, choose a seven- or eight-ounce boneless strip steak and trim the excess fat.

Flank Steak
I think what makes the dish so pleasing on the palate is the balance of complementary flavors and textures. Crispy fresh pear and tangy blue cheese, crunchy almonds and earthy watercress, a very floral dressing with fresh basil—and, of course, tender, juicy steak.

Note: Instead of grilling out, you can sear the steak in a hot cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Brush only about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, and the steak will turn out seared and smoky—almost like grilled!


Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 1/2-lb flank steak
  • olive oil, for grilling (or brushing a pan)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp finely chopped shallot
  • 4 cups watercress
  • 1/2 small red pear, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 oz blue cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped toasted almonds
Salad Toppings
Preparation
  1. Light a grill for medium-high, direct-heat grilling. Rub the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred outside and pink in the middle, for medium rare (or until desired degree of doneness), 5-6 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into thin slices.
Flank Steak Beginning to Grill
Grilled Flank Steak
Let the Steak Rest before Slicing
  1. Combine the basil, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and shallot in a mini food processor and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
Dressing Ready to Process 
Blended Dressing 
Basil Vinaigrette
Divide the watercress between 2 plates. Top each evenly with pear slices, blue cheese, red onion, and toasted almonds. Divide the steak between the salads and drizzle each with vinaigrette.


Grilled Steak and Pear Salads with Basil Vinaigrette

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