I love a good salad for dinner and I'm perfectly content to go completely meat-free, as long as I have enough chopped up veggies to satisfy my appetite. My husband, on the other hand, doesn't mind having salads for a main course, as long as I include some sort of protein. Grilled steak, chicken, salmon or shrimp are quick and easy and make for excellent toppings to a fresh green salad. When I saw this recipe for a flank steak salad, combined with my favorite ingredients (tomato, avocado and cheese), I knew it would be a winner. And, the lemon-lime dressing is super easy and just the perfect flavor for this Southwest meal.
Baja Grilled Flank Steak Salad
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 lb. flank steak, trimmed of all external fat
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced scallions
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 medium ears fresh corn or 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
1 large head romaine lettuce cut lengthwise into 4 wedges
1 medium Hass avocado, thinly sliced
1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese
For the Spice Rub: In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, salt, cumin, paprika, oregano, and chipotle powder.
Generously season each side of the steak with the dry rub and, using your hands, rub it into the meat. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.
For the Lemon-Lime Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, scallions, cilantro, salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Set aside.
Preheat a grill to medium-high (or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat).
For the Salad: If using fresh corn, grill the corn, turning often, until the corn is charred on all sides, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Increase the heat of the grill or grill pan to high. Grill the steak for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or longer to your taste. Remove the steak from the grill, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and set aside.
Thinly slice the steak 1/4 inch thick, across the grain and at an angle to the cutting board, then cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
Put a romaine wedge on each of the serving plates, top each with one-fourth of the grilled steak. Dividing evenly, top with the avocado, corn, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salads.
Flank steak has a tendency to get tough very quickly, so most recipes call for some sort of a marinade to help break down the connective tissues. This recipe could benefit from some sort of a lime-based marinade (perhaps substituting the Asian seasonings with a little bit of cumin and cayenne pepper), as it was a little tough, in spite of my usual cooking methods for this particular cut of beef. I never cook it for more than 10 minutes total (5 minutes on each side). Also, prior to grilling the steak, I allow it to sit out on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes, and I also let it rest for 10 minutes after grilling. If you decide to use a marinade, I recommend that you dry the steak with paper towels before applying the rub.
With this salad, I chopped the romaine into bite-sized pieces rather than four individual wedges. I used regular tomatoes, cut into wedges.
The cotija cheese and lemon-lime dressing create a wonderful flavor with the other ingredients. I recommend doubling the dressing. You'll want to have more for your leftovers.
We ate less than half of the steak with our two salads, so I saved the rest and used some for steak & cheese quesadillas, later in the week.
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