Marinated Steak Salad with Charred Poblano Sauce

Aside from a few late season snowstorms here in Park City, warm weather IS coming. It feels like spring drags its feet before truly arriving… probably because we all yearn for color and life and renewal. Sunny, long days mean so many of my favorite things: sun-kissed skin and bare feet and green grass and wildflowers and open windows and eating outside. It also means wearing less clothes… which means it’s time for lighter food.

John and I love main plate salads (like this one!). During a recent warm spell, I had a craving for steak but didn’t want to do a heavy meal with big side dishes. Instead, I made a super-flavorful marinade, chopped up some fresh veggies, and blended up a smoky sauce. Together, they made a killer meal: marinated steak salad with charred poblano sauce. Yum!

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First, I made the marinade. I researched all sorts of recipes and used what I had on hand: olive oil, syrupy balsamic vinegar, citrus juice, garlic, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, some cayenne pepper for heat and a bit of agave for sweetness. I added some fresh chopped thyme and poured the scrumptious mixture over some sirloin steaks. The meat swam in the marinade for over an hour, which gave me time to make a tasty sauce.

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Again, I had most of the ingredients on hand already, aside from two big poblano peppers. I charred them on the indoor grill along with a jalapeno. I chopped up the peppers into large chunks, removing the seeds from the poblanos but leaving the skin for that yummy char flavor. Into the food processor they went, along with garlic, Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, cream cheese, a splash of cream, and seasonings. So easy. Look at the dreamy texture of this poblano sauce!

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At dinnertime, John took over the grilling of the steak, brushing the meat with the remaining marinade. I prepped some fresh toppings for the salad: onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and toasted pine nuts. When the steak was done, John let it rest before slicing it. I laid two kinds of lettuce leaves onto the plates and added the onion, tomato, avocado, and cheese.

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Next came the sliced steak, which I topped with plenty of the charred poblano sauce and a sprinkling of nuts. How beautiful is this salad?

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The poblano sauce served as a thick dressing, but you could add a light Italian dressing into the mix. The salad has so much flavor– the marinade is a serious keeper, with sweetness and spice and a salty hint from the soy. The poblano sauce balances out those notes with a creamy char flavor and more heat from the jalapeno. The onion and pine nuts add crunch. I wouldn’t change a thing! This steak salad will be even more delicious eaten on the patio as the warm sun sets.

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But we’ll have to wait for that… It just started to snow.

Marinated Steak Salad with Charred Poblano Sauce (inspired by With a Measure of Grace cookbook)

For the marinated steak, you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice of half of an orange
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper
  • Your preference of steak (I used sirloin)

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup cream
  • Juice of half of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Garlic salt and pepper to taste

For the salad, you’ll need:

  • Your favorite greens (we used butter lettuce and arugula)
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced red onion
  • Sliced avocado
  • Halved mozzarella balls
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Italian salad dressing (optional)

To make the marinade, combine all ingredients and whisk together. Pour over the steaks in a shallow dish, flipping to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least one hour (longer is better). Occasionally spoon some marinade over the meat or flip it.

To make the sauce, char the poblanos and jalapeno over a flame. Once cooled, seed the poblano and chop the peppers. Add them to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and puree until well-blended. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Grill the steaks to your desired doneness. While the meat rests, make the salad by arranging the lettuce and veggies on your plates. Slice the meat and lay it over the salad. Top the meat with lots of poblano sauce. Sprinkle with pine nuts and add Italian dressing if desired. Cheers to light-ish meals and warm weather (sooner or later). YUM.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page

The New 52: A new recipe each week in 2015

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