Steak Nicoise Salad with Farm-Fresh Green Beans & Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette

Thanks to my favorite blog Simply Recipes, I was alerted to a useful book that helps home cooks learn the ratios behind basic recipes.  The book is  aptly named Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Mark Ruhlman.  I'm not reading the book cover to cover (not at this point), but I have familiarized myself with the book. It is serving as a coffee table book that I periodically pick up, and use for reference. Specifically, I've tried a couple of his vinaigrettes, and last week I was reading up on brines (which has become very popular of late), when an idea stuck me.  What about a meat-and-potatoes type of salad?  My meat-and-potatoes husband and I have been trying to eat healthier:  more vegetables, more fruits, more fish, more lean meats etc.  We haven't had red meat in a while and I had a one-pound top sirloin (organic and from Uruguay to be exact) in the fridge and I didn't have any specific plans for how I was going to use it.  My idea?

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Steak Nicoise Salad with Farm-Fresh Green Beans & Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette
serves 4

12 oz. spinach leaves or (2 ) 6 oz. bags
1 medium red onion, minced
2 medium russet or red potatoes, cooked tender and sliced
1 large container of fresh green beans, cooked tender
1 pound top sirloin, grilled and sliced thin
12 nicoise or kalamata olives, quartered
Peanut oil
Lime-peanut vinaigrette

Marinade for the Top Sirloin

2 tablespoons of Bragg Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
1/8 teaspoon chinese 5 spice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1) Mix ingredients and marinate at room temperature for 90 minutes, flipping several times.  (My sirloin was partially frozen so I felt comfortable marinating at room temperature.  However, if your sirloin is completely is thawed -- you might want to marinate for a longer period of time in the fridge)

To prepare the potatoes

1) Prepare other salad components while sirloin
 is marinating.

2) Wash and place potatoes in a small pot with enough water to cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer at a low boil until potatoes are tender 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and set aside

3) Just before salad assembly begins lightly coat potato with peanut oil and slice in 1/4 inch slices.

Farm-Fresh Green Beans - from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

1 pound of farm fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2o cups of water 
1 cup salt

1) Bring the water and salt mixture to a boil

2)  Cook green beans 4-5 minutes until tender not crunchy.  At this point the beans can be served immediately with butter and lemon. Or, drain and submerge beans in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. (At this point the beans can be kept in the fridge until ready to use and sauteed for two minutes with your favorite spices).  In my case, I set aside since I w
as going to use in this salad.

Lime-Peanut Vinaigrette - from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced shallot (I substituted with red onion)
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup peanut oil

1) Combine the lime juice, salt, and shallot in a blender. (I used my immersion blender).  Blend for a few seconds to dissolve the salt and shallot/onion.

2)  Add the remaining ingredients and blend until they are combined.  Set aside.

To make to top sirloin

1) Heat 2 - 3 tablespoons of peanut oil over medium-high heat in your favorite grill pan.  (I used a cast iron pan with grill marks).  Place top sirloin in the pan and cook on one side 4 minutes with the cast iron grill weight on top of the steak.  Flip and cook on the second side for 4 more minutes with the cast iron grill weight on
 top again, (or until your preferred doneness).  This steak came out a perfect medium rare.

2) Remove from heat and tent with aluminum foil for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

3) When ready to slice, use a sharp knife and slice 1/4" slices

Assemble the salad

1) Place spinach in one large bowl and use just enough lime-peanut dressing to coat all of the leaves evenly.  Divide spinach between 4 plates.

2) Arrange sliced sirloin, green beans, potatoes, red onions and olives over the greens.

3) Drizzle with more vinaigrette.


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