Oh man, am I a sucker for a salad. Good salads. Like, reaaaallllly really good ones. This is because, I have a finely tuned Salad Lame-dar which easily detects such disappointing features as wateriness, blandness, and lack of crunch and contrast. Enter, my new sweetheart: Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad. Cannot get enough of this! Thinly sliced, seared flank steak, sauteed apples caramelized with a little brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, tossed with arugula, green onions, funky/salty blue cheese, and pralines… Aggghh! I can’t with this. I love it so much.
You might question my method of cooking the flank steak here (thinly sliced and seared quickly in a hot cast iron skillet) and that’s fine. If you want to cook the whole dang flank steak in one piece, then slice it in nice, medium-rare slices – go for it. Here’s why I prefer my method for this salad, though:
- Bite-Sized Pieces (ideal for one-handed salad eating in any setting, i.e. at your desk, in your (parked) car, or stuffing your face while scrolling through instagram) (P.S. These are all me🙋♀️)
- Crispy Edges (if you don’t know why that’s good, I can’t really help you)
- Quick and Easy (no wrestling with an oddly long flank steak that smokes out your kitchen before it’s done)
Not to mention, after the apples are all charred and sweet…
we’re going to return the steak to the skillet and toss it around with the apples and all the syrupy balsamic glossiness:
‘Nuff said. Let’s do this!
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Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad
Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad with mounds of charred steak and apples, salty blue cheese, sweet crunchy pralines, and syrupy balsamic all tossed with peppery arugula! Yum!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- 1 flank steak, sliced as thinly as possible, against the grain, into about 2” pieces
- 1 large or 2 small sweet apples, sliced (I like gala or honeycrisp)
- 1 T vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- a big pinch of brown sugar
- 1/3 C balsamic vinegar
- 3 big handfuls of arugula
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 C crumbled blue cheese
- 1/3 C chopped pralines (any kind of candied nut or even honey-roasted peanuts will work)
for the vinaigrette
- 1/2 C olive oil
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T honey, or more to taste
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar with a lid and shake to combine. Taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
- Season the flank steak with salt and pepper (or use your favorite grill seasoning). Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat and add the flank steak, spreading it out into a single layer. (You may want to do this in 2 batches.) Let the steak cook for a minute or two, then stir it around and let it cook for another minute. The edges should be brown and it’s ok if there is still some pink showing. Transfer the steak to a plate.
- Add half of the apples to the same skillet and let them cook on one side for a few minutes; stir and cook on the other side. The apples should be soft and pretty well charred.
- Lower the heat to low, sprinkle a big pinch of brown sugar over the apples, then pour in the balsamic vinegar. Add the other half of the apples and the cooked flank steak to the pan and stir to coat everything. Turn off the heat and let cool for a bit before assembling the salad.
- Combine the arugula, green onions, blue cheese, pralines, steak and apples in a bowl and toss with as much vinaigrette as you like. Serve, topped with more blue cheese and pralines if you love excess, like me.
I used a 1.5 lb flank steak and still had some left over.
Freezing the flank steak for 20 minutes before slicing makes it super easy to get thin slices.
If ya don’t love blue cheese, goat cheese is amazing in this too.
This vinaigrette recipe makes about 3/4 C, you may have some left over. Luckily, it is delicious on everything, like chicken, roasted veggies, and steaks.
If you want another warm salad-y type of meal with seared protein and a tangy dressing, try these Chicken and Broccoli Bowls with White Wine Pan Sauce.