Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pan-Seared New York Strip and Arugula Salad

This is an extraordinary entree salad. It's healthy (completely Paleo), delicious and you can prepare the entire dish in less than 30 minutes (less than an hour if you add in pan heating time). It's a wonderful mix of flavors: perfectly cooked slices of steak with the peppery arugula, tangy cherry tomatoes...all complemented by a bigger-than-life mustard vinaigrette. This is no wimpy salad. Welcome to the bold and the beautiful.

This recipe is from Food and Wine Magazine. While their recipe calls for grilled steak, we are going to pan-sear ours. Pan-searing puts that incredibly crunchy, steakhouse crust on the outside of your steak...something you will never be able to do with a grill. Pan-searing is the preferred method of cooking steaks in the Gruggen household. If you were ever to do a side-by-side taste test of a pan-seared steak and grilled steak, I firmly believe you would choose the pan-seared every time. It's the closest you can come to a Morton's, Capital Grille or Smith & Wollensky in your home kitchen.

An hour before you start preparing the meal, take the steaks out of the fridge so that they come to room temperature before you toss them in the pan. For the cooking pan, I recommend cast iron (see note at the bottom of this blog). Second choice would be a steel pan... non-stick is strictly forbidden under any circumstances. When the steaks are searing on the stove top, expect have your fan on. This recipe serves 4 to 6, depending on how big you want the salads to be (it yields 4 really big salads for 4 people).

Ingredients for the Steak
3 New York strip sirloin steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Vinaigrette
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons drained capers
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the Salad
8 to 10 ounces arugula leaves
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450º (rack should be in the center) and place empty cooking pan on center rack.
  2. While pan is heating, prepare vinaigrette. Combine all five ingredients, whisk and set aside.
  3. Rub olive oil on the top of the steaks. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
  4. After pan has heated for 30 minutes at 450º, turn a burner on top of stove to high. Using an oven mitt, remove pan from oven and place on burner. Sprinkle a little kosher salt in pan. Let it heat for five minutes.
  5. Drop steaks, seasoned side down onto pan. Make sure steaks do not touch each other. Do not move steaks once they hit the pan.
  6. Sear for exactly 5 minutes. While side 1 is searing, sprinkle exposed tops of steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  7. After 5 minutes, flip the steaks in the pan and place the pan in the oven. Follow these times exactly:  for medium rare, remove pan after 5 minutes; for medium remove after 7 minutes.
  8. Remove the steaks from the pan, place them on a cutting board and tent with foil. Let them rest 5 minutes.
  9. Divide arugula and cherry tomatoes between serving plates. Sprinkle each with a little Kosher salt.
  10. Slice steak on the diagonal and divide among serving plates.
  11. Whisk vinaigrette and drizzle over each plate of steak and salad, then serve.

Wine pairing:  A big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a primer on the best pan for pan-searing:

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