This is a simple, easy to put together salad that is satisfying enough to stand alone as a main dish. What can make home salads so special is learning to whip up your very own vinaigrette. Once you nail down the basic recipe, it is easy and exciting to experiment with the flavors in the dressing. And it is super impressive to guests when you slam a mason jar of homemade dressing down on the dinner table. It shows that you really went that extra mile -- because you care.
The trick to the vinaigrette is a small, screw-top, canning jar. Vinaigrettes need to be emulsified. Stirring or whisking them together will just not cut it. You need to really force the oil molecules in between the vinegar molecules, otherwise it's just a hot mess. But if you put everything in a screw-top jar and shake it like a Polaroid picture, you'll get a perfect emulsion. So go shake it.
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Here's what you'll need...
2 - 1/4 pound, thin cut New York strip steaks
6 ounces baby spinach
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
9 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic
Preheat a large, stainless steel skillet over HIGH heat. Season the steaks well on both sides with salt and pepper.
Cook steaks in the HOT skillet until lightly browned on the outside and medium-rare on the inside; about 1 minutes on each side. Set the steaks aside and let them rest for 5 minutes.
Peel, mince, and smash the garlic (pressing the side of your knife into the garlic to smash).
Put the vinegar, oil, mustard, and half of the garlic in a screw-top jar. Season well with salt and pepper. Put the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Wash the spinach in a salad spinner.
In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, cherries, pecans, and bleu cheese.
Trim any fat or gristle off of the steak and slice into thin strips.
Add the steak and half of the vinaigrette to the salad and toss until the dressing coats everything evenly. Taste and add more vinaigrette if desired.