One of my favourite cookery books is this one by America's Test Kitchen, entitled . . . Simple Recipes, more than 200 flavourful, foolproof recipes that cook in 30 minutes or less. I love cooking as you know . . . but if I can combine my love of cooking with great tasting recipes that are quick to prepare and deliciously interesting to eat . . . then I am a very happy cook.
I love this book because, although these are simple recipes . . . they are also extraordinary recipes, filled with flavour, colour and texture. You get maximum flavour and impressive results . . . with minimum effort.
That is the type of cooking I love. Good tasty ingredients, put together in innovative and delicious ways . . . cooked and prepared with simplicity. Fresh and tasty food really should speak for itself don't you think??? Me too!!!! Good food doesn't need gimmicks to make it taste better.
This is one of my favourite salad recipes from the book . . . and I'm happy to say that the Toddster loves it too. This is a salad which would easily please any man . . .
I call it the holy trinity of steakdom! Steak, mushrooms and tangy blue cheese . . . the three combined in a simple salad which tastes anything but simple. It has a deliciously tangy and rich vinaigrette dressing . . .
I did make a few changes here. The original recipe called for red wine vinegar in the dressing . . . I used sherry vinegar and I added 1 TBS of liquid acacia honey . . . just for a slight hint of sweetness, as that is the way we like our salad dressings . . .
The steak is simply seasoned and then cooked until golden brown on the outside, yet meltingly tender and slightly rare on the insides.
The mushrooms are sauteed in drippings along with a touch of the vinaigrette, giving them a lovely colour and moreish flavour.
You get the green rich and meaty crunch of fresh baby spinach leaves . . . the lovely flavour of the steak, the tang of capers and blue cheese . . . rich mushrooms and a lovely vinaigrette, which when combined together create a fabulous salad that I would even serve to company.
If I could think of anything that might tip it over the edge and make it even better . . . it might be the addition of some crispy salad onions . . . for crunch, but really . . . it's quite wonderful just the way it is.
Who says salads have to be boring???
*Steak, Mushroom and Blue Cheese Salad*
The flavour trinity of fabulous steak tastiness . . . a good piece of meat, some meaty mushrooms and blue cheese. What's not to like!
2 strip loin steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each in weight, and each about 1 inch thick
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 fluid ounces of extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup), divided
2 fluid ounces of sherry vinegar (1/4 cup)
1 TBS liquid Acacia honey
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 TBS Dijon mustard
3/4 pound of white closed cap mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
1/2 pound of baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
2 TBS non-pariel capers, drained and rinsed
235g of blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
Measure 2 TBS of the olive oil out into a large skillet. Set aside.
Whisk the remaining olive oil together with the minced shallot, vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with fine sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Pat the steaks dry and wipe with some paper toweling. Season with some salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers and begins to smoke. Add the steaks and cook, turning over only once, until nicely browned and cooked medium rare, about 4 minutes per side. (If medium rare is not to your taste, you can cook them a bit longer if you wish.) Remove to a plate and tent loosely to keep warm.
Add the mushrooms to the hot pan along with 3 TBS of the dressing. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until the mushrooms are golden brown. This will take about 8 minutes or so. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Toss the spinach leaves in a large bowl along with the capers and mushrooms. Drizzle with some of the remaining dressing. Cut the steaks thinly across the grain in thin slices. Arrange over top of the spinach. Crumble the blue cheese over top and serve. Pass any remaining dressing at the table.