Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blackened blue steak salad with coffee marinade

Blackened blue steak salad, with a coffee-based marinade, tangy balsamic dressing and bold blue cheese, will quickly become a weeknight favorite.

blackened blue steak salad

If you think it seems silly of me to post a recipe for a salad, you're not eating the right salad.

I love a good meal salad. Probably for the same reason that I love one-pot dinners: it seems so efficient to have a fully balanced meal -- protein and veg -- all in one simple dish.

And there's the speed factor, too.  Meal salads are generally simple and speedy, perfect for weeknight dinners.

My blackened blue steak salad has evolved over the years. It started with the dressing, and then evolved into the whole salad, becoming my go-to recipe for those inevitable summertime post-grilling steak leftovers (plus it got its cutesy name).  Now, I'm marinating and pan-searing a steak in the dead of winter solely to be able to eat this salad.

Sometimes, when I have them coming in in my summer garden, I add sliced radishes to the salad for an extra peppery crunch, but it's just as good without them.

The one thing that cannot be messed with, however, is the blue cheese. In combination with the balsamic-based dressing, the blue cheese is what makes this salad so addictive (and yes, a salad can be addictive).

For the recipe, I've included instructions for the coffee marinade and indoor pan-searing of a flank steak (with explicit instructions for not moving the meat around in the pan, which is incredibly hard for me -- too Type A, I guess). But, trust me, any steak, cooked any old way, will do. And if I whip this salad up for lunch with steak leftovers from the fridge, I don't even bother to heat them at all.

Additionally, if you prefer more crunch in your salad than I do, some homemade baked croutons would be a welcome addition.

And once you try the 6-ingredient balsamic vinaigrette for this salad that you can make in under a minute, I hope you'll see that you never need to buy bottled salad dressing ever again!

Are you a fan of meal salads? Do you have a favorite? Tell me about in the comments: The Ninj wants to know.

blackened blue steak salad

Blackened Blue Steak Salad with Coffee Marinade

This recipe, which serves 4, yields enough steak for two full salads, so plan to put half in the freezer for another meal. 

-- for the marinade --
1 cup cold coffee
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, chopped
2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. flank steak or London broil (not too thick)
-- for the dressing --
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-- for the salad --
1 medium-sized head romaine lettuce, sliced into ribbons
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup sliced green onion
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

For the marinade, whisk together the first 7 ingredients in a shallow bowl or large zipper bag. Add the flank steak, cover bowl or close bag and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours.

After marinating, heat a large skillet (this is one of the few times in which I don't recommend a non-stick skillet) over relatively high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and brush off any bits of garlic or shallot. Place the steak into the hot pan and sear it, WITHOUT MOVING IT (this is hard for type-As like myself), for 5-6 minutes. Flip the steak and sear the other side, again WITHOUT MOVING  IT, for another 6-7 minutes (if you have a steak thicker than about 3/4 of an inch, you'll likely need to sear it a minute or two longer on each side). Remove the steak from the pan and let it sit under a foil tent for another 5 minutes. Cut the steak into thick slices or bite-sized chunks (you will have twice as much steak as you need for the salad, so pop half of it into the freezer for later use).

While the steak is resting, whisk together the 5 dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, tomato and green onion and toss to coat. Gently fold in the steak and the blue cheese and serve.
-- print recipe --


  1. Oh man, this steak salad looks delicious, Ninj!!

    1. Thanks, David -- I love being excited about a salad!!!

  2. This salad looks awesome! I've always wanted to try a coffee rub/marinade on steak and I never have.