Monday, February 21, 2011

Steak Salad with Garlic Dressing

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved garlic salad dressing. Weird, right? But on occasions when we went to restaurants, that's what I ordered, without fail.

At home, we had vinegar-and-oil based dressings, and from the time I was a little kid, making the salad and dressing was my job. Vinaigrette was a snap, but I had no idea how creamy salad dressing were made.

One day, a neighbor made her own garlic dressing while we were visiting, and I was astounded. It involved a blender and mayonnaise, but when I tried to replicate what she did, it was too harsh. So I was back to vinegar and oil pretty quickly.

When I saw that one of the Kitchen Play recipes for this month was a steak salad, I figured it was time to whip out a garlic dressing. The original Kitchen Play recipe had a blue cheese dressing, but I'm not a big fan of blue cheese - sorry, just not my thing. But the contest is all about beef. Canadian Beef, to be exact. And I had just enough steak to top a salad, so the blue cheese didn't matter.

While I tend to like creamy garlic dressing, I decided to go a completely different route and make a vinaigrette first, then add enough mayonnaise to make it a little creamy. And for garlic flavor, a total cheat - garlic oil. I mean, why not?

Steak Salad with Garlic Dressing

For the salad dressing:
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoon garlic olive oil*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon mustard (optional, but it helps with emulsification)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

For the salad:
Salad greens, your choice
Thinly sliced steak (your choice of cut, cooked to your desired doneness)
Freshly ground pepper

To make the salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until combined. The mustard will help it emulsify, but it is optional.

To assemble the salad, arrange the greens on the plate, top with a drizzle of dressing. Arrange the sliced steak on top, then grind on some pepper.

*Garlic oils vary in intensity, so you might want to taste yours and see how strong it is and adjust as necessary, substituting plain olive oil for the garlic oil if it's too strong for your taste.