Friday, March 6, 2009



I'm so certain that you've got the same kind of thing in your own repertoire that I almost didn't post this. But it's so good I thought I'd give it a shot anyway, if only to show you how I make my standard salad dressing. I won't give the ingredients in regular recipe form--that is, I'll list what I used in this one but let you decide on the quantity. There are just four must-have ingredients: steak, potatoes, cheese and salad greens. (Plus the dressing, of course.)

The genesis of this salad: I was hungry for a "big salad," as made famous by Elaine in "Seinfeld." I had a couple of gifted Omaha steaks--small filets mignons--that had been mouldering in the freezer for so long I knew they'd be inedible on their own, plus, they were too tiny to make a meal of by themselves. I had a few Yukon Gold potatoes that also had to be used or they'd go bad. And I've started buying whole heads of romaine lettuce these days instead of the pre-picked bags, to save money. That was all cleaned and dried and ready to use.

So here you go. In the dressing, use any kind of vinegar you have, but champagne vinegar adds a special flavor.

Mustard vinaigrette:

1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic and thyme against salt until a paste is formed. Add mustard and vinegar and stir until well mixed.

Empty contents of bowl into a shaker container and add olive oil. Shake to form an emulsion and set aside.


4 small Yukon Gold potatoes
2 4-oz. filets mignons
1 tablespoon olive oil
crumbled feta or blue cheese
finely minced shallots
finely chopped celery
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup roasted red pepper from a jar, coarsley chopped
1/4 cup parsely, chopped
marinataed artichokes, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup seeded kalamata olives
handful cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
two sticks hearts of palm, chopped into bite-size chunks
about 10 oz. torn romaine lettuce

Steam potatoes whole, skin on, until a fork goes into them with some pressure. (They shouldn't be mushy.) Allow to cool until you can handle them, then slip off skins and cut into quarters.

Salt and pepper steaks. Heat olive oil over high heat in a skillet until shimmering, add steaks and sear on one side 3 minutes, then turn and sear the other side 2 additional minutes. Remove steaks and tent with foil 15 minutes to allow juices to settle, then carve into bite-size chunks.

Toss all ingredients into a large bowl, ending with the romaine. Add dressing, toss well and serve.


Anonymous said...

Artichokes and hearts of palm are O.U.T. in this family along with anchovies. But it's an interesting recipe. I'll try a variation and roasted red pepper from a jar?? Also never tried champagne vinegar, is it found with the olive oils in most stores?

Ralph said...

Too bad about the artichokes and hearts of pal, Z&M! Well, toss in what everybody likes.

Champagne vinegar--yeah, you might have to travel to Orlando.... (heh!)

Linda - SE PA said...

Hi Ralph,

The Seinfeld episode ran recently,maybe last week!

The b-i-g salad sounds wonderful and a good way to utilize the eating local menus.

Loved today's music - thank you for sharing. I could see Brenda Lee in her flair-poofed out dress on American Bandstand, Jerry Lee Lewis pounding his piano and once again felt the loss of Ricky Nelson.

Nan said...

This sounds amazing, Ralph! And it doesn't sound that hard to make. We love adding artichoke hearts and roasted peppers to salads. Thanks for a great recipe.

Anonymous said...

Ralph... mmmmmm mmmmm sounds and looks delish... thank you for all the great recipes and of course the music... When I was growing up a friend of mine came from a family of 16 kids... it was sooo much fun over there... They had a saying for a type of meal It was called "must go" translation = everything in frig ( edible) MUST go...