Fresh vegetables are plentiful this time of year and I never seem to tire of them! Salads are some of my family's favorite meals. They come together relatively quickly and they're perfect for warm summer days or nights.
When I make this salad, I start the day before I want to serve it. The vinaigrette and the relish are better the following day because the ingredients have had a chance to "marry" and they produce a better flavor.
If you don't want to make the Southwestern Vinaigrette, you can always substitute Italian salad dressing in its place. You will need about 3/4 to 1 cup of the salad dressing.
The great thing about salads is that you can add or change any of the ingredients and still have a great meal. And this recipe is no exception! I've prepared this salad using chicken instead of steak, changed the lettuce varieties, added more peppers (for more heat!), and used different salad dressings to finish.
Southwestern Steak Salad
1 lb. Flank or Round Steak
Southwestern Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Salad Mix (any variety - we like the romaine blends)
Sweet Corn & Black Bean Relish (recipe below)
corn tortilla strips, optional
I usually grill or broil the steak for this recipe, but you can prepare it any way you like.
Preheat your grill or oven (broiler). Brush both sides of the steak with the reserved (1/4 cup) of the Southwestern Vinaigrette. Grill over medium-high indirect heat or broil, brushing the steak with the reserved vinaigrette as it cooks. I generally cook the steak for about 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare, but you can cook your steak to your liking. Once the steak has finished cooking, let it rest on a platter or cutting board for 10 minutes. Discard any of the vinaigrette you used to marinade the steak while it was cooking.
While the steak is resting, assemble your salad. You can serve this family style or on individual plates. Divide the salad mix (as much as you would like) and place it on a platter or plates. Sprinkle with corn tortilla strips, if you are using them. Slice the steak into strips and place on top of the salad mix and tortilla strips on the platter or divide among the individual plates in the same manner. Top with the Sweet Corn & Black Bean relish (as much as you prefer). Finish the salad preparation with some of the Southwestern Vinaigrette and you are ready to serve!
Sweet Corn & Black Bean Relish
3 ears sweet corn, husked & silk removed
1 Anaheim, Poblano or Jalapeno pepper
1 large red pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup black beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 tbsp. dried, if you don't have fresh available)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Southwestern Vinaigrette (recipe below)
salt, to taste (add a little at a time)
Preheat your grill (or light the charcoal, if not using gas) to medium-high heat. Brush the ears of sweet corn, the Anaheim pepper, and the red pepper will olive oil. Place the corn and peppers near the flame, if possible. Grill, turning occasionally, until the skin of the peppers blacken and the kernel on the ears of corn become golden brown.
When done, place the peppers in a large piece of aluminum foil and seal to form a little package. Set the peppers aside for 10-20 minutes.
While the peppers are "sweating", cut the kernels of corn from the ears. Place the kernels in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Remove the peppers from the foil. Using a paper towel, rub the blackened skin from the pepper as gently as possible. Once you have removed and discarded the blackened skin, cut open the peppers and remove the seeds and veins; discard. Cut the peppers into strips and dice into even pieces. Add the peppers to the corn in the mixing bowl.
Finish the relish by adding the black beans, fresh cilantro and the Southwestern Vinaigrette. I start with a little vinaigrette and add more, as needed. Taste and add salt - a little at a time - until it is to your liking.
Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to serve.
- 2 tbsp. lime juice (freshly squeezed is best, but bottled is OK)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, if you would like more heat)
Place all the ingredients in a container with a lid that forms a good seal (mason jars, small Tupperware or Rubbermaid containers are good) and shake vigorously until all the ingredients are well combined. Reserve 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette in another lidded container (to brush on the steak while it is grilling or broiling). Refrigerate both containers of vinaigrette until ready to use. Be sure to shake well before using.
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