Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I get all excited whenever a shiny new Cooking Light arrives, but these days (dare I say since its dumbed-down redesign?), I only seem to find one recipe per issue that I actually want to make. Either the August issue had a greater-than-average number of tasty recipes, however, or I was in a mood to be seriously hypnotized by glamorous summery food photography, because I folded over nearly a dozen pages. One argument for the “hypnotized” theory might be the fact that I flagged this recipe, despite the fact that I have no particular fondness for steak or blue cheese. But I like arugula and plums, and the ingredient combo was excitingly surprising, yet somehow made sense. Plus the picture was so pretty! (Yep, definitely hypnotized.)

Mostly, though, I love the idea of main-dish salads in the summer, and I thought that this would be an A-friendly way to work more of them into our weekly menus, since he loves red meat and strong cheese. In retrospect, I needn’t have worried; later, when we were discussing the concept of salads for dinner, he clarified that he loves salads, “way more than pastas [pointed glance at me] or soups.” So I guess Summer Salad Nights are a go, and this was a decent way to kick off. It’s not one of those transcendent recipes that become more than the sum of their parts; it tastes just as you’d expect: like arugula, steak, plums, and blue cheese. (When the salad was mixed together, I could barely detect the dressing at all.) This disappointed me during the first few bites, but then I just sat back and appreciated the interplay between those four flavors—peppery, meaty, sweet, and sharp. I won’t be making this every week, but it was still an interesting, well-rounded, healthy, and satisfying meal (not to mention easy, quick, and attractive).

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon honey
⅛ teaspoon salt
8 cups loosely packed baby arugula
3 plums, thinly sliced
¼ cup (1 ounce) crumbled blue cheese

1. Combine pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1½ teaspoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small bowl; rub over both sides of steak.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; let rest 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.

3. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, honey, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add arugula; toss gently to coat. Arrange about 1½ cups arugula mixture onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 3 ounces steak, about ½ cup plums, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Serves: 4
Time: 25 minutes
Leftover potential: Low, although not impossible if you store all the salad elements (sliced steak, arugula, dressing, unsliced plums, and cheese) separately until ready to eat.

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