I feel like every summer I get on a kick of some sort. Last year it was maxi dresses, which are the ultimate gift from the universe for pregnant ladies. Can I get an Amen? Those plus s’mores and peaches. What a pregnant thing to say.
This summer I’m all about shorts (cannot get enough shorts,) sweet tea vodka, Neil Diamond radio on Pandora, and steak. Steak, steak, steak! Steak salad, plain steak, steak kabobs, steak flights. Yes you read that correctly, steak flights!
A few weeks ago at the Rowe Family Farms dinner, Ben, our guests and I enjoyed a steak flight for dinner that included a whole bunch of different grilled steak cuts served with a plethora of dipping sauces, toppings, and marinades. Now that’s an awesome idea for a friends dinner. Pair it with some fun craft beer flights and you’e got yourself a good time.
Anyway, the experience was as awesome as it sounds and one of my favorite bites was a new-to-me cut called a chuck eye served with blue cheese butter. I will never forget those succulent bites of tender, marbled steak dripping with tangy blue cheese mixed with softened, salted butter. So much so that I recreated it shortly thereafter in the form of Cherry Almond Blue Steak Salad with Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette!
A “poor man’s” ribeye, aka chuck eye steak, is simply seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper then grilled over high heat to form a nice crust on the outside while staying juicy on the inside. It’s thinly sliced then paired with tender baby spinach, tangy blue cheese, sweet fresh cherries, and crunchy sliced almonds, and then topped with a light and luscious cherry-balsamic vinaigrette. This salad is refreshing but filling, a combination I rather appreciate in a salad.
Ben and I used to do salad night for dinner on the regular but found ourselves searching for a night cap snack an hour or two later because they lacked staying power. I’m happy to report we did not have a problem staying full after devouring these delectable steak salads which not only pack a protein punch from the steak, but sliced almonds too.
My love for the combination of cherries and almonds is well documented, and combining them with steak and blue cheese is a match made in Heaven. This salad is like an epic cheese board on a salad plate!
Start with a bounty of fresh cherries. I get so giddy when these babies starting popping up for cheap at the grocery store each summer…so much so that I didn’t hesitate to buy this 5lb container the other day. Go big or go home, amiright?
You’ll need 2-1/4 cups fresh cherries for this recipe between the salad and vinaigrette. First you’ll want to pit ’em all though. You can use one of these handy-dandy cherry pitters...
Or use the straw and bottle method. My Mom, who’s also cherry-obsessed, was THIS EXCITED to tell me about her new favorite way to pit cherries which entails nestling them on top of a bottle then using a hard plastic straw to push out the pit. I tried it myself to see how it compared to my manual pitter and it actually worked great!
Whichever way you go, measure out 1/4 cup cherries then pit and add ’em to a food processor or blender. Add 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 teaspoons honey, salt, and pepper, and then stream in 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil while processing until smooth to make the Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette. Say it with me, this stuff is spoon-drink worthy!
Set the dressing aside then turn your attention to the steak. Like I said, Ben and I have gone steak-crazy this summer. They’re just as easy to throw on the grill as chicken and are much more satisfying in my opinion. I swear I can feel the extra iron pumping through my veins after eating one. Good visual, no?
You’ll need 1-1/2 – 2lbs steak to serve 4 people. That might seem like a lot, but depending on what cut you get a lot of the weight can be fat which melts away and/or is not eaten. I chose a chuck eye steak which is located right next to the ribeye so it’s fabulously marbled, but usually half the price. I’ll take that all day long! If you can’t find chuck eye, or want something a little leaner, by all means use whatever you like.
Rub the steaks with extra virgin olive oil then season generously with salt and pepper, and then grill over medium-high heat to your preferred level of doneness. The time it will take depends on the cut and how thick it is too. If you don’t have a grill, don’t fear, delicious steak can be cooked right on the stove top. Here’s how >
However you cook the steaks, let them rest for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. The crust they get from that olive oil rub and thick blanket of salt and pepper is mouthwatering!
Pile plates high with baby spinach then arrange the steak slices on top. Sprinkle with the juicy cherry halves as well as crumbled real blue cheese (go with Maytag, if you can,) and crunchy sliced almonds. Drizzle with the Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you’re set!
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Cherry Almond Blue Steak Salad with Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Cherry Almond Blue Steak Salad with Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette is a fantastic combination of sweet and tangy flavors in one delicious entree salad.
- 1-1/2 – 2lbs steak (chuck eye, ribeye, filet, strip)
- extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper
- 12oz baby spinach
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 3oz blue cheese, crumbled
- For the Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients for Cherry-Balsamic Vinaigrette except extra virgin olive oil in a food processor or blender then pulse to coarsely chop. Slowly stream in olive oil while processing until smooth. Set aside.
- Rub both sides of steaks with extra virgin olive oil then season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat to your preferred level of doneness. Alternatively you could cook steaks on the stove top using this method > Let steaks rest for 5-7 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain.
- Divide spinach between plates then top with sliced steak, cherries, blue cheese, and sliced almonds. Drizzle with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.