Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beet, goat cheese and steak tip salad

After I graduated a year and a half ago from college with a BA in English literature, I found myself without a job. Until I found one at a restaurant. I met a lot of great people, but it was a little disheartening. I learned the hard way how some people treat workers in those types of jobs. One particularly well-known, wealthy wanna-be politician made lewd jokes at me until he found out I had a degree from a good university.

But for all the frustrating parts of the job, it had its benefits: namely, half-price menu options.

There was this great salad with beets and arugula and nut-encrusted goat cheese coins. I loved that salad. I went through a phase of ordering it every night for my after-work feast. (This was after my phase of ordering the Ceasar salad every night.) And then one day, one of the patrons at my table ordered it with steak on top. 

I was flabbergasted. Why hadn't I thought of this? So here, for you, is a recipe for beet salad, with nut-encrusted goat cheese coins, and steak tips. For all you vegetarians out there, this is just as delicious without the steak.

Beet, goat cheese and steak tip salad
For two salads

4 ounces chevre
1/8 cup pistachios, roasted and salted
1/8 cup walnuts, raw
3-4 beets
Olive oil
2 large steak tips
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp honey
10 ounces (or more) arugula

If your chevre comes in a log, carefully slice it into 6-8 rounds. (If it crumbles a little, that's ok. You will be able to re-shape it.) If it doesn't, spoon about 1 1/2 Tbsp to form each disk. In a food processor, mince the pistachios and walnuts. (If you have a different mix of nuts in your pantry, feel free to try those.) Gently pat the nuts into the chevre coins on all surfaces. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad. (This can be done a day ahead.)

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut tops and roots off beets and rinse off any dirt. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about an hour, until tender. When finished, remove beets from oven and let alone until cool enough to handle. Using a spoon, peel off skins of beets. Roughly chop beets and set aside. (This can be done a day ahead; simply refrigerate the beets.)

Remove steak tips from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Season with a little olive oil and a lot of salt and pepper. Preheat grill or cast-iron pan to medium-high and cook just a few minutes on either side. (We like our steak fairly rare.)

While the steak is cooking, prepare the dressing: vigorously whisk about 1/4 cup olive oil with 3-4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, the honey, the sliced shallot, and salt and pepper. Toss beets in dressing.

Remove steak from grill or pan and set aside to rest while you assemble salads. On each plate, mound some arugula. Spoon beets in dressing over, and arrange goat cheese coins around edges. Top with the steak.

Serve with a nice malbec. 

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